The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

Local News

November 13, 2012

Gamesa announces new round of layoffs

EBENSBURG — Gamesa Energy has issued layoff notices to more than half of its Cambria Township work force.

Company officials say 92 of the plant’s 154 workers are expected to be out of work at the plant by early next year.

It’s part of a nationwide trend for wind energy companies. A congressional deadlock over whether to extend a soon-to-expire federal production tax credit has drastically weakened the market for new wind farms and components.

“Failure to extend the (tax credit), which expires at the end of the year, has caused a dramatic slowdown across the entire U.S. wind industry,” said David Rosenberg, Gamesa’s marketing vice president.

Rosenberg noted that the company has been forced to adjust to those poor market conditions.

Gamesa gave its employees a 60-day layoff notice last week, as federally mandated by the Department of Labor.

That comes on the heels of 73 layoffs at the facility during the summer. And if the company follows through with the next round, it would put its Ebensburg area work force at about one-quarter of its employment at full production in recent years.

The company’s plant in Fairless Hills, Bucks County, also has been hit with more than 90 layoffs since summer.

But Gamesa isn’t alone.

In the past two months, German-based turbine-maker Siemens announced it was laying off more than 600 workers in three states.

Clipper Windpower furloughed more than 170 workers in the fall. And Vestas, the world’s largest turbine manufacturer, laid off 3,700 workers globally this year, partly blaming a weakened U.S. market.

Rosenberg stressed Gamesa remains “fully committed” to the U.S. market.

He said some recently laid-off Fairless Hills workers could be back to work in the coming weeks to complete an order for a project in an overseas country. The Ebensburg plant doesn’t build those components, he added.

The American Wind Energy Association, a Washington, D.C.-based trade association that promotes the industry, said the looming deadline puts the nation’s wind companies at a crossroads.

It cites a recent study by Chicago-based Navigant Consulting that says 37,000 jobs could be eliminated in a year’s time if the tax credit dies – but that its extension would allow the industry to grow to 100,000 jobs by 2016.

U.S. Rep Mark Critz, D-Johnstown, who supports the tax credit extension, said he has been pushing for months to get it resolved in the House.

He noted that the extension does not have support from some Republicans.

Critz said “serious discussion” regarding an extension began only in recent days, and it likely will be weeks before more is known.

U.S. Rep. Bill Shuster, R-Hollidaysburg, could not immediately be reached for comment.

Click here to subscribe to The Tribune-Democrat print edition.

Click here to subscribe to The Tribune-Democrat e-edition.

1
Text Only | Photo Reprints
Local News
  • Halfway house inmates can ease back into society

    Prison life can be a time warp.
    When inmates are locked away – for months, years, decades – society moves forward: Technology evolves, major events occur, pop culture changes. From a personal perspective, families and friends live their lives: weddings, funerals, graduations, births, retirements. All the while, criminals bide their time, existing in a regimented world of cement walls and metal bars.
    Almost all of them eventually rejoin society, though.

    April 19, 2014

  • Crime board took aim at house

    Johnstown’s unemployment rate is around 8 percent.
    One-third of the city’s population lives in poverty.
    Burglaries and assaults significantly increased between 2010 and 2012. There is a thriving illegal trade in heroin and prescription drugs.
    Given those conditions, it can be challenging for Johnstown Community Corrections Center residents to find jobs when living in the facility or to avoid falling back into a criminal lifestyle upon their release.

    April 19, 2014

  • Homicides linked to center

    Three homicides that took place in Johnstown last year involved either a suspect or victim who previously resided in the Community Corrections Center.
    Police Chief Craig Foust confirmed the name of one victim, who spent almost two months in the facility on Washington Street during 2007, a time period verified by the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections.

    April 19, 2014

  • bachota Volunteers helping to spruce up community

    Walls and ceilings inside the Cambria County Library look clean and bright with fresh new coats of paint on them.
    The work was recently done by inmates from the Johnstown Community Corrections Center.

    April 19, 2014 2 Photos

  • alanna Hartzok targets income disparity

    Alanna Hartzok described herself as being a conservative progressive.
    The Franklin County resident said she is in favor of conserving environmental resources, education opportunities, Social Security and Medicare, while wanting to progressively address wealth inequality, health care and taxation.

    April 19, 2014 1 Photo

  • Schools rise to leadership challenge

    Forest Hills and Cambria Heights high school students put the spirit of healthy competition toward a good cause and picked up some lessons in leadership along the way.

    April 19, 2014

  • KATEY LADIKA Student’s photos win awards

    A Forest Hills High School junior has captured several awards in a high school arts and writing contest that has identified greats such as Truman Capote and Andy Warhol.

    April 19, 2014 1 Photo

  • Jim Siehl JIM SIEHL | Music to my ears

    Seldom has $15 produced such a high level of entertainment as it did a few weeks ago when I found myself in the second row just left of center keeping back the tears once again during my third live performance of “Les Miserables.”

    April 19, 2014 1 Photo

  • Michele Bender Bye, bye, Easter birdies

    Animals fascinated my mom. Riding the train between Johnstown and Philly, she saw horses, pigs, sheep, cows … a Mattel See ’n Say of farm critters.

    April 19, 2014 1 Photo

  • Bill Eggert Columnist Photo Travelogue of terror features Johnstown area

    A historic week will surround the venerable Silver Drive-In come the beginning of May.

    April 19, 2014 2 Photos

Poll

Would you like to see the Johnstown Community Corrections Center remain open after its lease runs out on Oct. 11, 2015?

Yes
No
I'm not sure
     View Results
House Ads