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Franklin County firms lay off employees

January 24, 2001

Franklin County firms lay off employees



By RICHARD F. BELISLE / Staff Writer, Waynesboro


WAYNESBORO, Pa. - A general slowing of the economy nationwide is beginning to take its toll on some southern Franklin County businesses. Two announced worker layoffs last week, company spokesmen said Wednesday.

Lanny McCleaf, vice president of human relations at Landis Gardner, a Unova Co., at 20 E. Sixth St. in Waynesboro, said about 40 production and office workers were laid off earlier this month because of downturns in the auto industry. Landis makes precision machine products used in the manufacture of engines.

The auto industry dictates how business goes for Landis, McCleaf said. "All you have to do is read the papers these days about how Ford, GM and Chrysler are doing," he said.

Steve Beck Sr., of Beck Manufacturing, said cutbacks were made on the third shift at the company's manufacturing plant at 9170 Molly Pitcher Highway in Greencastle, Pa. He declined to say how many workers were laid off on that shift.

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"We usually don't talk about those things," Beck said.

He, too, blamed the cuts on the overall downturn of the nation's economy.

Beck Manufacturing makes steel pipe fittings. The company also has a plant on East 9th Street in Waynesboro.

Last week, Grove Worldwide, a giant crane maker with a main plant and headquarters in Shady Grove, Pa., announced the permanent layoffs of 290 workers from all departments. The latest round of Grove cuts brought to about 800 the number of jobs lost at Grove in the last year and a half.

The overall slowdown in the nation's construction industry, a slump in aerial manlift sales and the modernization of manufacturing processes to make the company more competitive have all resulted in employee cutbacks, Grove officials have said.

It is still a painful time for the workers and families whose jobs are affected, Carol Henicle, executive director of the Waynesboro Area Chamber of Commerce, said Wednesday.

"A business has to do what it has to do to stay competitive and stay in business and sometimes that means layoffs," Henicle said.

She said layoffs, even small ones, have a ripple effect through the general economy of the area.

"Some people who get laid off find a new job, but it may have lower wages and fewer benefits, so the family has less money and buying power and that affects other businesses too," she said.

Area residents who have lost jobs are seeking employment in neighboring Fulton County and as far away as the Washington metropolitan area, she said.

Area government and Franklin County Area Development Corp. officials are trying to ease the strain on laid-off workers by scheduling a Feb. 1 day-long jobs fair where they can meet with prospective employers.

It will be held in Chambersburg, Pa., beginning at 9 a.m. at St. Paul's United Methodist Church's all-purpose room at 750 Norland Ave. The morning session will focus on furloughed Grove employees. The afternoon session will be for anyone seeking work, said Dave Bumbaugh, deputy director of the South Central Employment Corp.

Bumbaugh said Wednesday that nearly 40 area employers have signed up for the jobs fair in the hopes of finding new workers for their companies.

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