Fuel system supplier Walbro Corp. notified the Michigan Department of Labor and Economic Opportunity that it expects to extend furloughs for some employees at its Cass City, Mich., location due to the impact of COVID-19.
The company originally furloughed 164 employees at the location on March 24 and 25 following Michigan's statewide stay-at-home order.
By May 20, 32 furloughed employees had returned to work at the location, William Gaun, vice president of global human resources at Walbro told Plastics News in an email.
The May 26 notice was filed, Gaun said, "as a precautionary measure to ensure regulatory compliance because it is possible that current furloughs could last" past Sept. 24.
"At this time, we are cautiously optimistic that the impact will not rise to the level of a qualifying event under the WARN Act," he said. "However, a number of variables continue to make it difficult to predict what the true long-term impact will be," including government restrictions, the possibility of an outbreak at the Michigan facility, changing demand and availability of parts and materials.
"Walbro had initially hoped that these furloughs would be brief, but subsequent developments and the continually changing landscape now cause us to believe that some of the current furloughs could extend for a total period exceeding six months," Gaun said in the recent notice.
"Although the true number of employees who will be laid off for more than six months may not reach the threshold set forth under the WARN Act, we thought it appropriate to provide this notice," Gaun added.
The company is a blow molder of tanks and other fluid system parts with corporate offices in Tucson.