Janesville Acoustics in Norwalk to close

What kind of impact will this have on the Maple City?
Melissa Topey
Aug 30, 2013

 

The final nail has been hammered into a local manufacturer’s coffin.

At an emergency plant meeting Wednesday morning, representatives at Janesville Acoustics told employees the Norwalk location on Industrial Parkway will be closed by year’s end. The shuttered factory will send 270 hourly employees and 26 salaried personnel onto the unemployment lines. Layoffs could come within weeks, as Janesville begins to phase out operations at the Norwalk facility.  

The news was an unwelcome surprise to workers and the community. “We are all in shock,” said Casey Martin, union president for local 1422 Workers United.

Norwalk’s Janesville employees earn anywhere from $13.50 an hour up to $18, as well as receiving health benefits. Some positions earn slightly more, Martin said. Most are simply trying to take in the news, and it’s not just about the future of one facility. It’s about Norwalk, too. “The city already does not have a lot of jobs,” Martin said.

Thus far, the soon-to-be unemployed have received no job offers for positions at other Janesville Acoustics plants, Martin said. Union representatives were not approached, either, but Martin said he hopes Janesville management will want to talk to them to see what can be done.

Norwalk Mayor Rob Duncan was also stunned by the announcement. Janesville Acoustics president David Cataldi called him at about 7 a.m. Wednesday and told him the plant was moving south. “I asked, ‘What can we do to keep you here?’” Duncan said.

But it was a done deal. Cataldi told him it’s not viable for the company to remain, Duncan said.

“Tears welled up in my eyes,” Duncan said. “I thought of all the families invested in the plant. It’s devastating news.” Duncan said he immediately picked up the phone and called representatives from Gov. John Kasich’s office, as well as other area representatives, asking them to intervene in any way possible. State resource agencies, such as JobsOhio and Team NEO, were contacted to help retain the company.

Janesville Acoustics released a statement saying the move is a response to market pressures, including demand from customers to manufacture in closer proximity to their operations.

The company intends to select a new plant in Kansas, Missouri or Nebraska before the close of 2013. The location will be within reach of the assembly plants of many current Janesville Acoustics customers, the company stated in the release. “We’ve worked around the challenges associated with supplying customers long-distance from Norwalk,” Cataldi stated. “However, given the rising costs of logistics and the benefits of improved flexibility and efficiency that come from working nearby our business partners, we’ve reached a point where proximity has become essential to our continued growth.”

Janesville Acoustics manufactures sound-dampening and thermal insulation for the automotive industry.

The company closed its Republic Street plant in Norwalk about a year ago. In early 2010, the company laid off upwards of 110 employees, although it later rehired some of those workers. 

 
 

Comments

fifteenthgreen

Won't effect their nice new school.

grandmasgirl

New schools with a good rating will draw business. As far as the closing of the plant, plants closed in Bellevue, Monroeville, Sandusky, etc. This will take away from the cities tax revenue. Norwalk is a nice town. It is sad it happened. $13.50 to $18 isn't a huge salary. I can say with almost certainty that the quality of this product will not be the same at the new plant. The hard thing for the employees is when they start bringing in the people from the other plants and ask you to train them. They will expect you to tell them all the little shortcuts and secrets that YOU have learned over the years. I thought there was a state law that said the company had to give the employees a 6 month notice. What is Janesville doing? Are they going to pay these peoples wages for 6 months, or is that no longer a law.

Whoopball

They announced plant will close later in 2014. That's enough time to file their six month notice. Initial layoffs won't require six month notice.

Peninsula Pundit

Fear Not, Norwalk!
JobsOhio will save you!
They will be able to work behind the scenes with Jansville and use all the money from Ohio alcohol sales to save the day!
That's what Kasick said all the money and secrecy was for, right?

fifteenthgreen

Bank of America cuts 1155 in Ohio http://www.cleveland.com/busines...

KURTje

This is related to the other article, Ohio prisons have inmate spike..