Livingston manufacturing plant slated for closure

02/07/2014 6:30 PM

02/07/2014 11:28 PM

A manufacturing plant in Livingston will close its doors in a few months and lay off 37 workers, a company spokesman confirmed to the Sun-Star this week.

Fresenius Medical Care on Industrial Drive will shut down on May 30 after 22 years in the Livingston location. The facility produces a concentrate that’s used for dialysis therapy, said Jon Stone, spokesman for Fresenius Medical Care North America.

“The concentrates manufacturing which occurs at Livingston will move to our Irving, Texas plant in May 2014,” Stone said in a written statement. “The work is being consolidated to better leverage our resources and operational processes.”

The 37 employees who work in the Livingston plant have been informed of the closure, Stone added.

“We have invited them to seek other opportunities within the company or take advantage of transition support, such as severance and outplacement services,” he said. “We are grateful to these dedicated employees for their service and their many contributions to the business.”

City Manager Jose Ramirez on Friday called the announcement “really sad news” for Livingston, especially because it appeared the economy was slowly improving.

“Having a business of this magnitude close its doors here in Livingston is going to be felt instantly,” Ramirez said. “That’s huge for Livingston because they’re very good-paying jobs. We’re going to work with the landlords to try to identify another company that might be interested in doing similar work.”

Ramirez pointed to businesses coming to Livingston this year— Rancho San Miguel Supermarket, CVS, Auto Zone and a Motel 6.

“We don’t like the fact that we’re losing (Fresenius), but there will be additional jobs being created this year,” he said. “That’s the good news, but it doesn’t take away us being saddened by this recent event.”

Livingston Mayor Rodrigo Espinoza said the closure is especially difficult because it comes on the heels of difficulties at the city’s largest employer, Foster Farms.

“I know because of the issues with Foster Farms, some people lost income and right now it’s pretty slow for a lot of people,” Espinoza said. “I know a few people that have worked at Fresenius for many years and it’s sad to see anybody lose their jobs.”

Merced County’s Rapid Response Team, which is a part of the county’s Department of Workforce Investment, will visit the employees on Monday to provide information how they can get back into the workforce.

“When we go out we talk to them about how they can come in and do assessments to develop their basic skills,” said Eve Snelling, the department’s business representative. “The EDD representative will be there to talk to them about unemployment benefits, and we talk about the services offered through Worknet.”

Snelling said the Rapid Response Team was also on hand to assist with recent layoffs at Catholic Charities, Merced County’s landfill and the Jamba Juice in Los Banos.

“If we hear there’s a layoff anywhere in the county, it doesn’t matter the number,” Snelling said. “Even if it’s only three (employees), we still go out.”

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