Exide makes major layoffs in California

Exide makes major layoffs in California

By Editorial Staff, Resource Recycling

April 23, 2014

Unable to delay or challenge new air quality regulations, battery recycling firm Exide Technologies has announced it will temporarily lay off most of its Vernon, California workforce.

The latest development comes just days after the South Coast Air Quality Management District denied Exide's request for an extension to meet a "negative pressure" operational standard that went into effect April 10.

A simultaneous bid to test the legality of the standard, which requires Exide to reduce arsenic emissions, was also unsuccessful, leaving Exide without any option, the company says, but to keep the plant closed and temporarily lay off 124 workers.

"Because our Vernon facility is not currently operating and not able to meet the new operational standard without the necessary time to purchase, install and test the required equipment, we had no choice but to make this very difficult decision to temporarily lay off most of our workers – some of whom are second- or third-generation Exide employees," Robert Caruso, Exide's CEO and president, said in a press release.

According to the release, 20 employees were salaried while the rest were hourly workers and members of the United Steelworkers union. The union is urging "state leaders and local regulators" to help companies, including Exide, reach "rigorous air quality standards," the release states.

The company regularly employees about 130 workers at its Vernon site, leaving just six unscathed by the layoffs.

The Vernon operation — once processing 25,000 tons of lead-acid batteries per day — has been mired in controversy of late regarding elevated lead levels from battery processing.

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