The layoffs will continue as current orders are filled through the remainder of the year, Bowers said.
He said the mill will focus on making "perishable" tools such as drill bits. That operation will require about 125 workers, he said.
After the layoff announcement at noon, production workers were given the rest of the day off with pay. A second shift of 12 to 15 workers was expected to report to work on time.
Several workers interviewed as they left the plant would not identify themselves.
"If I give you my name and I'm not on the layoff list, I probably will be after that," one worker said.
The average wage at the plant is around $10 an hour, several workers said.
A number of workers said they knew layoffs were eminent, but were surprised by the number. "We were expecting maybe three or four," one said. "There were rumors of layoffs, but nothing specific," said another.
Ralph Wetzel, 56, of Blue Ridge Summit, Pa., a 35-year employee at the plant, saw Friday's announcement as a harbinger of even harder times to come.
"I don't see this company staying here," Wetzel said. "They aren't making any more machines and they won't keep these big building running for nothing. It's not looking good at all."
Terry Gift, vice president of Local 2530 International Association of Machinists, the union that represents about 200 Teledyne Landis production workers, declined to comment.
More than 200 union members struck at the plant in July of 1995 for about eight weeks over what strikers said were unfair labor practices. The union leadership talked the strikers into returning, but the issue that caused the strike has never been settled.
Workers said Friday that they have been working without a contract since August of 1995 and have not had a raise since then. The case is now in federal court on appeal by the union.
Staff Writer Guy Fletcher contributed to this story.