Brush Wellman in Elmore lays off 65 people

ELMORE Facing economic pressures, yet another local company is reducing its workforce.
Sarah Weber
May 24, 2010



Facing economic pressures, yet another local company is reducing its workforce.

Brush Wellman issued layoff notices Wednesday morning to 56 hourly and nine salaried employees.

Company spokeswoman Shelly Lizyness said the workers were cut from across plant divisions based on seniority. Prior to the lay off, the beryllium refinement plant employed about 600 workers.

This is the second round of job cuts the plant has made since November, when about 30 workers were handed pink slips.

"This is a difficult time we had to go through right now," Lizyness said. "We never want to lay people off."

She said with the poor state of the economy, the company could not continue to support its full workforce. She didn't know when or if workers will be called back to their jobs.

"Right now this (layoff) is indefinite," Lizyness said. "We have no projections at this time. I wish we could say we knew."

She said Brush Wellman, like most industries, is hoping the economy turns around sometime soon.

The plant has not planned additional layoffs, but Lizyness said it will continue to monitor business conditions.

Ottawa County commissioner Steve Arndt said he was frustrated by the layoffs because there is very little local businesses and the county can do to prevent them.

"You know the employees are the ones who make your operation go, and when the work is no longer there and you can no longer keep them," Arndt said.

"It's gut wrenching to have to let employees go because you know how it's going to affect them and their families."

He said he expects 2009 to be a difficult and challenging yearas the repercussions of the economic crisis trickle down to a local level.

The only thing the county can do right now is make sure workers are connected with the resources they need.

Brush Wellman asked Denise Ventrone, workforce resource director at the Ottawa County Improvement Corp., to prepare some informational packets for laid-off employees.

"We give individuals information about community resources to help them personally, but also information about the job store and employee and workforce training programs," Ventrone said.

She said she also encourages workers to visit the Ottawa County Resource Centre at 8043 West State Route 163, Oak Harbor. Its job store staff can help workers apply for unemployment and create a game plan to find new work.

"We have seen an increase of individuals who have been laid off not only from Ottawa County employers but also those who work outside the county," Ventrone said.

She said she worries the bad economy will continue to plague the area, but is grateful local companies have been proactive in connecting laid-off workers with her office.

"We all need each other in these times," she said.

Brush Wellman

14710 W. Portage River South Road, Elmore

Beryllium refinement plant

Laid off 56 hourly, nine salaried employees out of workforce of 600