Nearly half the unionised work force at Hercules Cement Inc. will be temporarily laid off in January, a decision management blames on slow business. Richard Zimmel, plant manager for the Stockertown cement producer, says between 35 and 37 workers will be laid off effective Jan. 3. Zimmel said the layoffs are expected to be short-term though he was not certain exactly when workers will be recalled.
It depends upon on how business is in the first months of the year,” said Zimmel, adding that workers were told to expect the layoffs to extend through January.
About 80 workers are represented by Teamsters Local 773. The plant employs about 125. Zimmel said demand for cement has fallen since peaking in 2006. For the last two years, consumption has been flat, he said.
“All the forecasts say that next year is going to be flat also,” Zimmel said.
The Stockertown plant is about 35 per cent below production capacity, Zimmel said. The business supplies customers who sell cement for residential, commercial and highway needs.