Lafarge to cut 37 jobs at Ravena

Lafarge to cut 37 jobs at Ravena
Published: 14 January 2009

Lafarge North America Inc. is eliminating 37 jobs at its quarry and factory here as part of a slowdown in the domestic cement market.

Local spokesman John Reagan said employees were told of the job cuts Monday. One hundred and eighty employees will be left after the cuts.

Lafarge is part of a global building materials company, based in Paris, with 90,000 employees. It specializes in cement, concrete and gypsum.

In Ravena it operates a limestone quarry in addition to a coal-fired kiln and cement factory off Route 9W.

Reagan said the cuts are due to a 21 percent drop in industry-wide demand for cement in the United States last year. An 11 percent drop is expected this year.

"The cement industry in the U.S. is experiencing its worst recession in the last 100 years or even history," Reagan said.

The cuts include 28 hourly workers and nine salaried employees. All but 50 workers at the plant are union members.

Lafarge shut down most of its Ravena operation last month to deal with the loss of business, Reagan said. While the limestone quarry and kiln operations were idled, the company was still able to make cement at the factory during the month using clinker and gypsum it had in storage.

"We made these changes in order to continue operating here," Reagan said. "We have to remain competitive against imports."

The Ravena plant is the second-largest mercury polluter in the state, according to a company study issued to the state Department of Environmental Conservation. The company is working with DEC to modernize the plant and reduce mercury emissions.