Central Moloney prepares for layoffs

Central Moloney Inc. is preparing to lay off up to 80 hourly employees at its Pine Bluff facilities because of a drop in customer demand according to Chris Hart, the company’s vice president for personnel and community relations.

“We anticipate the number of layoffs to be right around 80,” Hart said Thursday afternoon. “We have worked with [employee union] IBEW [International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers] Local 1658 to develop a process that allows us to minimize disruption through a seniority-based layoff process.”

Hart said fluctuations in demand for the company’s transformers and other electrical products is the reason behind the layoff decision.

“Sometimes one of the toughest things to do in business is to manage growth with the appropriate number of employees in our labor force and that’s especially tough in a volatile market and industry such as ours,” Hart said. “This week’s headcount reduction is a direct reflection of our effort to make our labor force nearer the present and potential needs of our customers.”

Hart emphasized that the layoffs are being implemented according to a plan developed between management and the unions that has been turned to before.

“We do this in cooperation with the union to minimize the disruption to and displacement of individuals and to maximize our potential,” Hart said. “This is a major component of our collective bargaining agreement with the local. It has been in place for many, many years.”

Hart said that when economic conditions dictate, the laid-off employees will be called back in the same way they are being laid off.

“While the system for reducing our hourly workforce is complex, it is also incredibly effective,” Hart said. “While the layoffs are based on seniority, future calls to return to work are also based on seniority. It is our absolute intention for these people to be called back to work. The current situation is a temporary fix to a long-term growth strategy.”