GAFFNEY, S.C. (WSPA) — One of the top employers in Cherokee County is eliminating 150 positions.
In a written statement, Timken confirmed the company will lay off employees at its Gaffney plant due to “challenging conditions across many markets.”
Timken plans to cut 150 positions over nine months.
The company expects many positions will be positions will be reduced through attrition and retirement.
Timken is among Cherokee County’s 20 largest employers, according to figures from the S.C. Department of Employment and Workforce.
The company manufactures bearings and mechanical transmission products. Its customers include aerospace companies, automotive manufacturers and farmers.
According to Timken’s website, the company employs more than 18,000 people around the world and posted $3.6 billion in sales last year.
7 News spoke with a family who may be impacted by the lay-off.
“My mama’s been there 18 years. My husband’s been there 12 years,” April Genobles said. “This is all he’s ever done. This is where he went to work when he graduated high school.”
April Genobles said Timken has been a primary source of her family’s livelihood for most of her life.
“Our retirement is tied up in this. Our life insurance. Our health insurance,” she said.
The large bearings manufacturer told 7 News on Thursday that they would be laying off roughly 150 people at their Gaffney plant over the next nine months.
Genobles said that could include her husband who, she said, is already being asked by the company to work less.
“I’ve had to increase my prices in the salon. I’ve had to take a second job working for the school district as a substitute teacher,” she said.
Genobles told 7 News she’s worried what this will mean for their family’s future.
“Four kids still at home. I’ve got one graduating this year. Senior year is expensive,” she said. “We’ve got Christmas coming up and they’ve already been told, ‘Don’t expect a lot.'”
With Timken being one of the top employers in Cherokee County, many others could be impacted as well.
“They’re like family to the people of Gaffney,” Executive Director of the Cherokee County Development Board Jim Cook said. “Timken has made us who we are. We’ve grown from a sleepy, little rural community in 1969 or 1970, when they came here, to a rural county now with probably about 70 or so industries here.”
Timken said they’ll support the affected employees with opportunities at some of their other plants and retention pay.
Cook said they’re going to work to keep the laid-off workers in Cherokee County.
“We’re going to be like family and do everything we can to take care of those displaced workers and find them good jobs,” he said.
Genobles said she has faith everything will work out like it’s supposed to.
“God doesn’t close one door without opening a window at least, so I know that we’ll be taken care of. Whatever is going to happen is going to happen, and it’s meant to be.”
Timken told 7 News they haven’t finalized any dates for when employees will be laid off, but say they will give at least 60 days’ notice.
Below is the full statement from Timken:
At Timken, we continually review our operations and global manufacturing footprint to ensure we are providing the best possible value and service to our customers.
We continue to see challenging conditions across many markets that we serve from our Gaffney, South Carolina, plant. After careful consideration, we have made some restructuring decisions that will reduce overall employment at our Gaffney facility by approximately 150 positions over the next nine months. While we expect many of these reductions will be achieved through attrition and retirements, we will provide support to help those affected by this change including, employment opportunities at other Timken manufacturing plants, outplacement services, benefits continuation and retention pay.
While difficult, these changes are required to streamline operations and restructure our manufacturing footprint to better compete in a global market.”