Ash Grove Cement’s Durkee plant is back in operation. After bringing back 48 laid-off employees over the past two weeks, the plant began the process of making cement on Monday. Seventeen workers returned earlier in the month to begin preparation for plant operation. Eleven employees had continued to work since the December shut-down in order to process existing orders.
Last Thursday, February 18, employees celebrated with a “welcome back” lunch provided by the company. “Bringing our employees back to work is great news for the company and Eastern Oregon,” said Terry Kerby, plant manager, in a recent press release. “Ash Grove remains committed to its employees and customers who rely on the Durkee facility.”
Production manager Alan Finch explained the start-up process, which required workers to return one to two weeks before actual operation of the plant. “You don’t just flip a switch and start running again,” he said. Employees have been involved in extensive clean-up of dirt and debris from the two-month shutdown.