Layoffs at Sika’s plant look permanent

Layoffs at Sika’s plant look permanent

 

By RANDOLPH HEASTER
The Kansas City Star

With the auto industry continuing to shrink, what was expected to be a temporary furlough of 100-plus workers at a Grandview factory looks more permanent.

Sika Corp. said that 107 employees were laid off last December at its Grandview plant, which makes adhesives and sealants for automobiles. The layoff coincided with a General Motors Corp. announcement that it would extend the holiday closings of most of its assembly plants into February.

Sika’s automotive division said it had hoped that production levels would rebound in 2009, allowing the company to bring back most of the furloughed employees. However, since that time, GM and Chrysler have entered bankruptcy proceedings.

All three domestic automakers have continued to dramatically reduce production in 2009. GM is again closing many of its plants for several weeks in the spring and early summer. Both GM and Chrysler will be closing nearly 20 plants combined as part of their bankruptcy reorganizations.

As a result, “it appears the decline in demand for the output at Grandview will continue indefinitely,” Sika said in a statement. “Consequently, the majority of these affected employees from Sika’s Grandview facility will remain on layoff more than six months. The reduction in workforce at Sika’s Grandview facility is likely to be permanent.”

The company declined to comment beyond its released statement when asked whether the displaced employees received a severance package.

Sika also declined to comment on the number of workers remaining at the Grandview plant. The plant is believed to have employed 325 people before the recent downsizing.

Sika, a Swiss company whose U.S. headquarters is Lyndhurst, N.J., moved out of a Kansas City facility to a new and bigger space in Grandview in 1999. Operations there began with about 200 employees after the city of Grandview offered tax incentives.

Sika’s automotive division is based in Madison Heights, Mich.

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