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Jamestown Metal Products to lay off 37 workers

JAMESTOWN — A Jamestown manufacturer announced about half of its workforce will be affected by plant layoffs.

Joseph D. Crews, human resources director for Institutional Casework Inc., confirmed on Monday that 37 workers at Jamestown Metal Products Inc. will be laid off by May 8. The employees were recently notified of the workforce reduction.

The Tennessee-based Institutional Casework purchased the local manufacturer of painted and stainless steel furniture and equipment for the laboratory, education, government and health care markets in 2009.

The layoffs will leave the plant with about 40 employees.

Crews said the decision to lay off employees was made to ensure Jamestown Metal Products stays at its 178 Blackstone Ave. facility. He said the plant will “refocus” on producing fume hoods and other metal products core to its business strengths.

“We are trying to look at the products we make at that plant to make sure they are profitable,” Crews said. “We felt this was the best thing to do to stay profitable. … We hated to do it.”

A notice was filed last week with the state Labor Department announcing the layoffs. The filing, called a WARN notice, is required under federal law when an employer plans to cut at least 25 full-time workers.

“We still have longterm plans,” Crews said of the Jamestown plant. “We felt that by cutting back, we can focus on things such as fume hoods, which is the best avenue to protect those workers. I know it’s a hard thing to hear from a business.”

Employees at Jamestown Metal are represented by International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers, Local District Lodge 65. The union did not return a call seeking comment.

Mark Geise, deputy Chautauqua County executive for economic development and Industrial Development Agency CEO, said he spoke to company officials last week regarding the planned layoffs. He noted the importance of helping those let go and keeping them in the local workforce.

“We want to make sure we are keeping them here and helping them find gainful employment at other places in Chautauqua County,” Geise said. “Equally as important, keeping those 40 employees that are still at Jamestown Metal and doing what we can to help them remain there.”

Jamestown Metal was founded in 1943.

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