Thursday marked the last day for 140 Werner Ladder Co. production employees at its Grogan Avenue plant. The Merced location, which produces fiberglass and aluminum step and extension ladders, laid off clerical staff, maintenance staff and production workers.
Company officials told the city of Merced they planned to keep the warehouse operation running until the end of the year with 14 employees, according to Mike Conway, city spokesperson.
The Merced County Department of Workforce Investment will work with the California Employment Development Department to provide information about unemployment insurance and training opportunities to the laid-off workers. The Workforce Investment Department also will make its training services available.
The Merced division “has been, and continues to be, a very productive and efficient operation but maintaining excess capacity in an extremely difficult economic climate has a detrimental impact on overall company performance,” the company wrote in a letter to the media in August.
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Werner Ladder, whose corporate headquarters are in Pennsylvania, acquired the facility and distribution center from Keller Industries in 1999. It has other manufacturing locations in Mexico and Kentucky and warehouse locations across the country.