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Falls plant to lay off 32 following divestiture ; Saint-Gobain ties cuts to sale of product lines

Saint-Gobain says it could lay off as many as 32 of the 176 employees at its Niagara Falls plant on Acheson Drive.

The planned job cuts stem from Saint-Gobain's recent sale of its advanced ceramics business to Coorstek, said William Seiberlich, a company spokesman.

"The divestiture means that we will no longer manufacture some products, which are part of two product lines, at Niagara Falls," he said. "We are currently transitioning these two product lines from Saint-Gobain to Coorstek."

The layoffs, which are expected to take effect between early April and the end of June, will affect a combination of hourly and salaried workers. Layoffs of hourly workers will be based on seniority, while the salaried workers' layoffs will be determined by business needs for certain positions, Seiberlich said.

Saint-Gobain's $245 million deal with Colorado-based Coorstek, a maker of technical ceramic and specialty material components, was announced last summer and was completed early this year.

When the sale was announced, Saint-Gobain said its advanced ceramics business had more than 1,100 employees at 14 sites in the Americas, Europe and Asia.

The transition does not affect other production lines at the Niagara Falls site that were not part of the sale, such as ceramic armor and ceramic parts used in the solar power industry, Seiberlich said.

Some of the Niagara Falls plant's production equipment will be moved to a Coorstek facility in Benton, Ark., over the next few months.

Saint-Gobain alerted the state to the layoffs under the WARN Act, which calls for employers to provide 90 days' notice of a plant closing, mass layoff, relocation or other covered reduction in work hours. The law generally applies to private employers with at least 50 employees.


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