BLUEFIELD, VA (WVNS) — More than 100 employees are now facing the possibility of losing their jobs with the closing of Komatsu in Bluefield, Virginia.
Bluefield Mayor, Donnie Lynkous, said the closure came as a shock to the entire community. Lynkous said he was not notified of the closure. He said Komatsu also did not notify anyone with the city or county.
“None of us, nobody, has any idea whatsoever. And they didn’t tell any of us. They didn’t tell the county, they didn’t tell our economic development director, they didn’t tell management with the town of Bluefield, Virginia. None of us elected officials,” Lynkous explained.
Lynkous said 71 people were laid off Monday and more are expected. He said losing these highly skilled workers will hurt the city.
“It’s devastating to our community to lose high paying very good jobs with people who have insurance and it’s going to be very hard to replace that. But we’re going to sure try to do something to get jobs back in here and to try to get these people back employed,” Lynkous said.
BLUEFIELD, VA (WVNS) — An announcement was made on Monday, Jan. 11, 2021 about the closure of a manufacturing plant in Bluefield, Virginia. In the release from Komatsu, the company stated it is adjusting its operations to the needed capacity and optimizing its global footprint.
Work from the Bluefield facility will be shifted to three other locations in the United States. Those will be in Duffield, Virginia; Lebanon, Kentucky; and Homer City, Pennsylvania. These facilities will support the companies Joy continuous mining products for underground mining.
“These are truly unprecedented times and as a company we have had to adapt as best we can, working to balance capacity to demand,” said Peter Salditt, president of underground mining. “We have a long history in Bluefield and this was a very difficult decision that we are sad to make. The contributions of everyone who worked there, past and present, will always be a proud part of our history and we are working to support affected employees during this difficult time.”
A WARN Notice issued on June 5, 2020 stated the layoffs will affect 71 employees. The company plans to meet with union representatives to discuss options for those impacted by the closure.
Employees were told about the decision to close the facility on Monday. The company stated they are committed to keeping workers informed throughout the process.
No delays in production are foreseen as a result of the closure. Komatsu team members are working to provide a smooth transition for their customers.