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AGY to half time for two weeks

Post Time:Apr 28,2009Classify:Company NewsView:366

One of Aiken County's largest employers is temporarily reducing employees' hours because of the troubled economy.

A group of AGY production workers visited the Aiken Standard Monday to voice their unrest at the measures the company is undertaking, including the cut in hours and layoffs.

According to an employee union document obtained by the Aiken Standard, all employees were notified that their hours were to be cut to 20 hours a week for two weeks.

"On Friday, April 17 the Local Union was notified by management that there was to be a reduction of hours for all employees in the plant for fourteen (14) days," the letter written by Teamsters Local 509 President L.D. Fletcher reads. "The Company response was basically that these decisions were not easy but were necessary based on the current economic conditions. The Company also pointed out that one of the reasons the decision was made to reduce hours instead of laying off more workers was to allow as many as possible to retain their insurance."

One from the group who approached the Aiken Standard said she would rather draw unemployment benefits than work 20 hours a week for roughly $14.50 an hour.

"We're talking a two-week period (for hour cuts)," AGY spokesman Wayne Byrne said.

He noted that the flagging economy has impacted AGY as it has many other manufacturing companies, and AGY has seen a softening in markets. As such, the company has adjusted its production and temporarily reduced hours so it could implement quality and efficiency measures on the floor.

"In the fourth quarter of 2008, we experienced softer demand in many of our markets, and 2009 could be a challenging year in several market sectors," CEO Doug Mattscheck said in a press release.

Softer demand and other factors led AGY to implement "a lean manufacturing culture," the press release stated.

AGY manufactures glass fiber yarns, reinforcements and high performance materials used in a range of markets, including automotive, construction, defense, electronics, aerospace, marine and recreation.

AGY employees about 720 people at its Aiken facility on Wagener Road, according to the Economic Development Partnership. Aiken is the company's corporate headquarters.

On March 18, AGY announced it was entering a sales agreement to acquire 70 percent controlling interest in Shanghai Grace Technology, a fiberglass producer in China. The news release states AGY has an option to purchase the remaining outstanding shares in the near future.

The acquisition will allow AGY to better serve its growing Asia-Pacific markets, the release said.

Source: aikenstandard.comAuthor: shangyi

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