With just two weeks to go before Christmas, employees at a FRAM Auto Filter plant in York learned this week they will be losing their jobs in the months ahead.
Lake Forest, Ill.-based UCI-FRAM announced Monday the closure of the company’s plant in York next year, with the first of approximately 225 job cuts coming in April.
“While this is certainly an unfortunate situation, an over saturation of the auto filter market combined with a soft market these last few years has left us with no other choice,” said Keith Zar, Vice President of UCI-FRAM Group.
The news was first delivered to employees Monday. York Mayor Eddie Lee was invited to the discussion as out-of-town executives broke the news to employees.
“We know these people and we share their sadness,” Lee said. “But move forward…and we have to find other employment opportunities for them — and with all of us working together, I think we will.”
Lee is a History professor at Winthrop University and was scheduled to administer final exams for students Monday, but rearranged schedules to attend the company’s gathering.
“It’s two weeks before Christmas…and the timing was terrible,” Lee said.
Zar said the first round of cuts will come in April and the plant is set to be completely shut down by July 1, 2014.
“With the significant over saturation of the filter industry, we had to make tough decisions to remain competitive,” Zar said.
Lee said rumors of the plant’s closing first surfaced in 2009, but changes were made for it to remain open.
FRAM currently operates four filter plans across the United States and employs approximately 2,000 employees.
But after FRAM leaves York, Lee said the city will step in to help.
“We will assist with the marketing of that 22-acre site…and hopefully another new company will come and hopefully we will turn the page on this sad moment right before Christmas.”