Kennametal cutting staff in Greenfield

Recorder Staff
Published: 8/2/2016 11:24:13 PM

GREENFIELD — Two years after announcing it would add 70 jobs to its Greenfield facility, Kennametal Inc. has begun cutting its global workforce — including Greenfield’s.

In Greenfield, 21 out of 100 employees accepted severance packages, releasing Kennametal from any future unemployment claims, according to Shawn Coates, chairman of the shop from the United Electrical Workers Union Local 274.

“I think there are 10 people leaving Friday, and 11 more are leaving in August or September,” he said. “The new Kennametal CEO is restructuring — downsizing people. So he’s offering this buyout to everybody, including management,” Coates explained. “The union has no role in this. We’re not saying ‘don’t go,’ if people want this. It’s their option to take it or leave it.”

Kennametal spokeswoman Christina Sutter confirmed that Greenfield Kennametal employees are among the 400 workers from all the plants that have accepted a “voluntary separation” package with enhanced severance pay and other benefits.

“We have continued to be transparent with our team members about the challenges in our markets and the responsibility we have to balance cost structure with current demand,” Sutter said.

On Monday, the tool manufacturer announced that annual sales had dropped by 21 percent, or $549 million, over the past year, and that the company is restructuring.

“Additionally, we have embarked on a workforce reduction initiative with expected costs of $80 to $95 million, which should reduce employment by 1,000, resulting in an annual run rate savings of $100 to $110 million by fiscal year-end 2017,” the company’s news release reads.

Patricia Crosby, executive director of the Franklin Hampshire Regional Employment Board, advises those being laid off to come to the employment center at One Arch Place. She said some may still qualify for unemployment, and there are retraining programs available for those seeking future employment.

In 1997, Kennametal bought the Greenfield Tap & Die plant on Sanderson Street. In 2015, it began adding some of the 70 new jobs that were to be added over the next five years and renovating the North Street factory. Mayor William Martin said at the time that those jobs would provide an average income of about $75,000 per year.

In 2014, Town Council had approved a 10-year tax break for the $5 million capital improvement, which would result in a $1.5 million tax savings from 2015 to 2025.

Earlier this year, six Kennametal workers were laid off.

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