Nemak

More than 200 employees of Nemak in Sylacauga are losing their jobs as the plant shifts part of its operation to Kentucky.

SYLACAUGA -- Nemak Alabama has announced it will be laying off more than 200 employees over the next several months.

The announcement was made to associates and government officials Aug. 1 at a meeting at the plant, just outside the city limits. The associates and officials were told that the two remaining products in the company’s Alabama Lost Foam Facility Plant 1 will be cut due to changes in customers’ technology expectations. As with new programs, requirements are being shifted to different casting processes.

One of these products will be phased out and will be replaced by a new generation of engines. The second product will move to the Nemak Kentucky facility, allowing Nemak to maintain jobs within the United States

Products Nemak produces include aluminum engine heads and cylinders. Production technologies have included lost foam and high pressure die casting. The lost foam technology will be phased out.

The phasing out in Alabama is to be completed in October. As of now, approximately 150 full-time hourly employees and 50 temporary, plus approximately 15 salaried employees are being affected. According to a press release from the company, Nemak is making every effort to assist the employees impacted.

Despite the phasing out of products in the lost foam plant, Nemak maintains a strong presence in Alabama with its High Pressure Die Casting facility that has approximately 460 jobs in Sylacauga, the release said.

Gerald Burgess, human resources manager of Nemak Alabama, said, “We are thankful for our associates’ continued commitment to Nemak and for their significant contributions to Alabama Lost Foam.”

Nemak, originally Teksid Automotive Components, announced it was building a plant in Sylacauga in late 1999. The company was a subsidiary of Fiat, and the plant opened in 2002. The initial investment in the plant was $75 million, and several expansions were completed over the years. More than 800 had been employed at one point at the facility.

Mayor Doug Murphree said he hates for anyone to lose their job because it is devastating to families.

“I hope they can find other employment, and if we can do anything to help, we certainly will,” he said.

Mike Landers, executive director of the Chamber of Commerce, said, “The chamber values Nemak and the remaining 460 jobs in Sylacauga. Of course, any time there is job loss, all our members recognize the significance of that job loss to the associates whose jobs no longer exist.

“We also recognize that these jobs have a significant impact on the economic health of our community and those associates. However, we know that Nemak and its parent company are good employers and financially healthy corporate partners of the chamber and community.”

Landers said Nemak officials have positive expectations for the future of their Sylacauga facility.