MORRIS TOWNSHIP, N.J. (Jan. 26, 2010)—Honeywell International Inc.'s Safety Products Division plans to close a factory in Rock Island, Ill., by March 2011 and eliminate 245 jobs.
The closure and cutbacks are only in the planning stage, a spokesman said, and employees facing layoffs will include direct and indirect labor positions in areas that include rubber product manufacturing, assembly, packaging and business support.
The plant produces boots used in farming and construction, by firefighters, electrical workers and those involved in heavy industrial work.
Honeywell will move production from Rock Island to an undisclosed Safety Products Division plant “to help build the company's manufacturing footprint,” according to the spokes-man.
About 285 workers are employed in Rock Island, where the company operates two facilities.
The other factory has about 40 staff members who are not impacted by the closure, the spokesman said, and the firm will continue making various rubber goods at the second site.
“Honeywell is closely working and negotiating with union representatives and would continue to support employees through the proposed transaction,” he said.
The negotiations began Jan. 13, he said. United Steelworkers Local 215 represents most employees at the site.
The spokesman said Honeywell “regularly evaluates its operations to identify new efficiencies to ensure that we remain competitive and can continue to fulfill customer requirements.”
Right now, he said, it's early in the process and details are still being worked out. As currently proposed, the transition of the production process to another facility and the layoffs would be done over a period of time, “with most position eliminations occurring from October 2010 to March 2011, at which time the building would close.”
The Rock Island plant was part of Honeywell's mid-2008 $1.2 billion purchase of Norcross Safety Products L.L.C., a maker of a wide range of protective and safety equipment, from Odyssey Investment Partners, a private equity company.
Some facilities picked up in the acquisition—including those in Dayton, Ohio, and Clover, S.C.—have expanded, the spokesman said.
In addition, the Safety Products Division opened a 118,000-sq.-ft. plant in Bolingbrook, Ill., in July 2009 that consolidated two Honeywell manufacturing sites at the end of 2009.
The two closed facilities—in Chicago and Skokie, Ill.—were part of the division's Electrical Safety business.
The consolidation didn't result in layoffs because employees from the two closed plants transferred to the new factory, which became the Electrical Safety unit's headquarters, the company said.
The new manufacturing facility, which employs about 125, produces a variety of products, including insulating rubber gloves and sleeves, rubber line hose, rubber blankets, temporary grounding equipment, arc flash suits, face shields and dielectric boots.