From the Derrick — written by Judith Etzel: Two more rounds of employee layoffs have occurred at Joy Underground Mining in Franklin.
Within the last two weeks, 43 workers have received furlough notices at the Franklin plant. The employees affected are hourly workers who are members of the International Association of Machinists.
The most recent roster shifts bring the total number of employees who have been furloughed at the manufacturing plant to about 350 in less than four months.
The local plant listed about 1,300 employees at the beginning of 2012.
The company has had no comment on the layoffs that began in mid-July. Each layoff has numbered less than 55 workers and has come in spurts since summer.
Other area industries that serve the Joy operations are also reportedly experiencing job layoffs. Machine shops as well as ancillary businesses such as electronic component manufacturers have furloughed employees. No information has been available as to the number of layoffs.
Joy, a division of Milwaukee-based Joy Global, is a leading manufacturer of surface and underground mining machinery. It is the largest private employer in Venango County.
The job furloughs come on the heels of a significant decline in the coal market, due primarily to a slowing economy in China which is a prime customer for Joy products and a competition in the energy fuels market because of inexpensive shale natural gas.
In its last quarterly report, Joy Global focused on its financial outlook and suggested recovery would be “sluggish.”
The company is responding to the lackluster market by implementing “actions to reduce costs” for the remainder of 2012 and into 2013, according to the financial statement.