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Recession Claims More Jobs At ABB

A total of 29 hourly positions were eliminated Thursday and Friday affecting ABB employees on all three shifts and reaching across all of the product lines at the South Boston plant, local plant officials confirmed Friday morning.

According to Tom Minnich, ABB senior vice-president and general manager, the affected employees were told late on Thursday and early Friday that their jobs would be eliminated.

After the layoffs, ABB has a remaining workforce of “well over 400,” according to Minnich.

The job eliminations are the company’s reaction to the general recession affecting businesses and industries across the nation.

“We did go through a reduction in force. The number of people affected this time was 29 spread across all shifts,” Minnich said.

He explained that last summer’s layoffs of 69 “should have been a greater amount, and a lot of people have been impacted since that time with a week off here and a week off there.

“We tried to get through the fall without doing something further, but it became pretty obvious a couple of weeks ago that we would have to do another one,” he added.

Minnich said the 29 employees are being provided a severance package that includes 60 days of paid medical benefits, and ABB also is assisting with job search efforts.

Some of the employees have been referred to other ABB plants for employment, and others have been referred to the new South Boston Workforce Center for assistance in finding employment, Minnich said.

“We never like having to be put into a position to take these actions, but it had reached a point that we could see what we could support for the current year. We’re now in pretty good shape and hope to continue without further impact,” he added.

On the brighter side, the ABB general manager said, “We have at least a steady order flow at this point to support what we have and hopefully that continues. At the same point, we have impacted so many employees so many different times, and we just couldn’t continue to do that.”

When asked if future layoffs were a possibility, Minnich said, “The order trend, the quote trend has been encouraging. We just need to be able to continue it.”

Early Friday morning following the announcement of layoffs, county authorities responded to a report of shots being fired near the ABB plant.

Although it was determined the shots were from local duck hunters in nearby wetlands, Minnich said, “The timing was unfortunate. They talk about things happening at the worst possible times. Thank God there was nothing to this report.”