DUBLIN, Va. (WDBJ7) - Volvo has confirmed plans to lay off about 700 people in the New River Valley, at its Dublin plant, because of decreasing public demand for trucks.
A company spokesperson said, "We regret having to take this action, but we operate in a cyclical market, and after two years of extremely high volumes, we have to adapt to reduced market demand."
Volvo said in June, when it announced a $400 million investment in NRV, that it expected to have to lay people off around the end of the year.
“It didn’t come as an absolute surprise," said county administrator Jonathan Sweet. "You never know when, you never know how many, but we do understand the sensitivity of the market.”
Sweet said county officials received a WARN notice, or Worker Adjustment and Retraining and Notification, from Volvo on Thursday. He said the rise and fall of the industry is standard.
“We think that Volvo has done a really good job of making the right investments, bringing the right people on, having the right product that makes these types of adjustments not as large," Sweet said. “Volvo’s always bounced back higher after these types of announcements.”
Volvo said it expects the total North American truck market to be down nearly 30 percent, or about 100,000 trucks, in 2020, and that one of Volvo’s core segments, the long-haul truck market, will represent a significant part of that reduction. The Dublin plant produces all Volvo trucks sold in North America.
UAW 2069 president Matt Blondino told WDBJ7 over the phone that this could impact other facilities that provide parts to the NRV plant.
“We’ve done a really good job at diversifying our economy so that these types of instances don’t cripple the community," Sweet said.
According to Sweet, the state-wide low unemployment rate and variety of workplaces in the county, they will work to help everyone out.
“We’re going to weather this storm," he said. "We’re a strong community and a very supportive community, but our thoughts, prayers and efforts are going to be to assist those 700 workers.”
Layoffs will begin the week of January 20, 2020. The 700 are part of the current plant workforce of about 3,300.
The company said there will be outplacement support for all affected employees, who will also be given information about the support available through the Virginia Employment Commission and the regional Rapid Response team.
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