Central Moloney is in the process of recalling more than 30 employees who were laid off last year, according to a company spokesman.
Central Moloney Executive Vice President Chris Hart said that improving economic conditions have increased the need for the electrical transformers that the company manufactures at its 2400 W. 6th Ave. facility in Pine Bluff.
Hart said they are in the process of recalling workers in cooperation with the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 1658 through their collective bargaining agreement. The recall process should be complete by the end of July, he said.
“The year 2014 has been very, very good for our company, both in the marketplace and in the walls of our facility,” Hart said. “This employee recall is in response to sustained growth from our existing and our new customer base. Our commitment to the right things for the right reasons has resulted in an increased ability to respond to a dynamic market.”
Hart said that the recall represents an important milestone for the company with the restarting of a shift that has been dormant since the nation’s economy began to deteriorate in early 2009.
Hart said that the company has also recently completed the expansion of its components facility.
“The walls are up and we’re in the dry,” Hart said of the 9,000-square-feet expansion.
Hart said that once the rack system is complete, the components division will be ready to quickly respond to customer demand by having a larger inventory of transformers available for immediate delivery.
Hart said that Central Moloney has worked closely with the employee union over time to develop a layoff and recall process that minimizes disruption to individuals and maximizes the company’s potential.
Local 1658 union president David Rochell confirmed that management and the union have enjoyed a good working relationship.
“The union is very glad that the company is calling back employees,” Rochell said. “We really welcome them back because we know what it’s like to be laid off.”
Rochell said that those being called back were laid off in late October 2013, adding that some have already returned because of employee retirements.
Rochell said that in recent years, management has become a better partner with the union.
“The environment now is a lot friendlier than it was,” Rochell said. “It feels like more of a family now than in years past.”
Rochell said that returning employees need to be mindful of the union’s commitment to producing a quality product.
“People need to understand that they need to come ready to work,” Rochell said. “There is a lot of competition out there for these jobs. I know that Central Moloney is a good workplace and we have to respect that.”
Rochell said that his negotiations with Human Resources Manager Paul Skupan have produced an agreement to sustain personnel levels through a commitment to produce the best equipment.
“We agreed that job sustainability is dependent upon the quality of the work that is produced,” Rochell said. “Central Moloney is a community workplace and it supports so many rural communities which have residents working here.”
Rochell said that a key component of the more relaxed atmosphere between management and the union is the former’s interest in listening to comments and suggestions from employees.
“This is the first time in my career with Central Moloney that the people working on the floor have a little more input in decisions,” Rochell said. “When our members know that they will be listened to if they have a recommendation or suggestions about doing things better it really improves morale.”
Lou Ann Nisbett, President and CEO of the Economic Development Alliance for Jefferson County, said that the Central Moloney announcement is welcome news for the area.
“This has several positive notes,” Nisbett said. “It shows that the economy as a whole is getting better and that Central Moloney is seeing growth in its industry. This in turn affects our local economy in a good way.”