Skyline of Richmond, Virginia

03.25.14

MARCH 2014, Scranton/Wilkes-Barre/Hazleton Edition of The Union News

Nonunion Cinram Inc. to cut 20 percent of workforce

BY PAUL TUCKER
THEUNIONNEWSSWB@AOL.COM

REGION, March 4th- The Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry has been notified that Cinram Group Inc., which operates a facility in Olyphant, Lackawanna County, will cut its workforce by approximately 100 workers. The compact disks (CD) and DVD manufacturing plant was purchased out of bankruptcy by Najafi Inc., a private equity firm which owns the Skymall and Direct Brands. The building itself was not included in the purchase agreement and Cinram has been leasing the facility. However, it has been announced that Cinram’s new owners is going to purchase the building and the surrounding property.

The plant currently employs around 475 permanent employees.

The lay-offs are considered “permanent” and the company will provide a monetary severance package to the employees based on the years of employment.

Ronald Vogel Jr., Regional Representative of the Labor and Industry, Workforce Partnership and Operations Rapid Response Coordination Service, stated many of the workers were laid-off in 2010 and later returned to work and are already familiar with what programs are available through the Rapid Response Program, which meets with laid-off workers and discusses with them how to apply for unemployment benefits and other services for jobless workers.

Mr. Vogel said that the workers are also covered under the Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA) program which provides additional help for workers who lose their jobs because of trade.

The company stated the intention of the reduction of the workforce is to bring it in line with the actual consistent workload of the plant. The hours worked for the remaining employees should be a more sustainable level.

The salary level of the impacted production and warehousing employees varies from around $12.00 an hour to $14.00 an hour for lower seniority less skilled positions to $15.00 an hour to $17.00 an hour for more skilled production workers with process technicians and maintenance technicians earning between $19.00 an hour to $21.00 an hour.

The plant was previously known as WEA. Built in the early 1970’s the facility first manufactured vinyl records. However, the plant changed over to the manufacturing of CD’s in the 1980’s and sold off the vinyl record manufacturing equipment.

The plant workers were never represented by a labor organization.