Connector and cable assembly maker Berg Electronics Corp. is cutting roughly half the jobs at its Clearfield, Pa., injection molding and assembly plant.
A June 9 internal e-mail message disclosed a plan that requires layoffs of 200-225 workers beginning in July and extending over 12-18 months, according to Berg employees who asked not to be identified. Most of the affected work is to move about 60 miles to Berg's 200,000-square-foot Huntingdon County plant in Mount Union, Pa., a Berg official told the Clearfield newspaper, the Progress.
While withholding further comment, Berg has said it will continue molding parts in the 146,000-square-foot Clearfield facility. The site employed 420 full-time and 100 temporary workers in injection molding, metal stamping and assembly.
Some assembly equipment is scheduled to move in early July to the Mount Union plant, according to employees, with molding presses remaining in Clearfield until late summer or later. Neither plant is unionized.
The Clearfield site makes electronic connectors for telecommunications and main-frame computers and uses 80 injection presses, mostly Demags, Boys, Van Dorns and Cincinnati Milacrons, from 15-150 tons.
Last year, Berg moved three presses from Clearfield to a leased Ciudad Ju rez, Mexico, assembly plant that is adding molding capability.
About two dozen Clearfield employees have protested to State Rep. Camille George of Houtzdale, a Democrat, about possible unfair treatment. On June 23, George asked Pennsylvania's Department of Labor and Industry to review the complaints.
Pennsylvania has helped Berg through financing and tax credits with previous expansion projects. In 1995, the Legislature approved a $7 million low-interest loan and the commonwealth's Department of Community and Economic Development authorized loans and grants totaling $3.25 million to help Berg create the Huntingdon County facility.
In 1998, Pennsylvania agreed to provide a total of $590,000 in an opportunity grant, job-creation tax credits and job training for Berg's Etters, Pa., plant.
Clayton, Mo.-based Berg employs 7,000 worldwide. The firm reported profit of $32.2 million on 1997 sales of $785.2 million. It plans to invest $90 million to $100 million this year for facilities, equipment and information systems to expand production capacity, according to Securities and Exchange Commission documents. Dallas investment firm Hicks, Muse, Tate & Furst Inc. controls about 17.2 percent of Berg.