NEW HAVEN — Industry in Mason County appears to be taking another hit.
Felman Production LLC, which operates out of New Haven, has announced its plans to temporarily idle one of three electric arc furnaces and lay off union workers. In a news release, the company has also said contract positions, as well as several management positions, have already been eliminated. The furnace could remain down until market conditions improve.
A decline in silicomanganese prices and increasing manufacturing costs are to blame for the cuts, according to Felman.
The furnace goes idle on May 31 with layoffs starting June 3. No word on how many workers will lose their jobs though the plant is said to employ more then 200 members of the United Steelworkers.
This January, a new 42-month contract was agreed upon by the company and the members of USW Local 5171. In January, the USW released a statement about the agreement saying the International Union, the Local Union and the company had worked well together to build a secure future for Felman, saying, “We plan to continue to work together as a team to be successful in being one of two plants in the United States that make ferrosilicomanganese.”
The USW has been at the facility for 60 years and has been through several owners in that time. Back in January, the USW reported the Union had 214 members, and it hoped to continue to grow with the company.
Felman bought the New Haven plant in 2006, and the Union has been through three contracts since then. As of January, all the contracts between the company and USW had been ratified without any work stoppage or strikes.
Felman Production, LLC calls itself a leading producer of high-quality ferrosilicomanganese, an essential deoxidizer and alloy additive used in the manufacturing of steel. According to the company, by utilizing multiple furnaces, which operate around-the-clock, the company produces approximately 105,000 metric tons of silicomanganese annually at its 190 plus acre facility.
Felman Production’s products are distributed to steelmakers across North and South America through its sister company Felman Trading, Inc., an international ferroalloys trading company. Felman Production is one of only two companies in the United States that produces what it calls critically important silicomanganese. Felman Production is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Miami-based Georgian American Alloys, Inc.