Philips Lighting plant in Bath has held a meeting on Wednesday, and told workers of the impending closure. It wasn't immediately clear when layoffs will begin, but the company told employees that the plant will close by the end of 2013, putting approximately 280 people out of work.
Silvie Casanova, a Philips spokesperson, said the closure is the result of decreased demand for the lighting technology manufactured at the Bath plant.
She said the lighting produced in Bath uses high-intensity discharge technology, which has fallen behind LED lighting technology. LED lighting lasts longer, is more energy efficient and can easily be integrated into other systems, Casanova said.
Philips will work with local and state officials to pursue new employment and training opportunities for workers affected by the plant closure, Casanova said.
Of the 280 people who will lose their jobs, approximately 215 are union employees. GateHouse News Service was unable to reach union leaders for comment.
Steuben County Deputy Administrator Jack Wheeler said Philips has had some ups and downs in recent years, but county officials were taken by surprise by word of the impending closure. He said Jamie Johnson, the executive director of the Steuben County IDA, would reach out to Philips to see if there was anything that could be done to help avoid the closure.
"They're a major employer in our community, not just for the village and town of Bath, but for the entire central part of the county. A closure of the facility, obviously, would be devastating," Wheeler said.