The Spartan Light Metal Products production facility in Sparta recently conducted a series of lay-offs. Actually, an extensive series of lay-offs that started in November that have gradually picked up speed.
The current action taken by Spartan Light Metal Products has displaced approximately 170 employees at the Sparta facility. The facility is down to two shifts. Some lines have been totally shut down while others are only running during one shift. The company is reported to be hardly running any automotive parts down the lines. Many longtime workers were laid off or demoted with some given a temporary lay-off status while many are being laid off permanently. And it is whispered, this might not be the end.
A press release by Spartan, from the desk of Vice President of Human Resources Philip Zampogna states, “Although Spartan continues to be optimistic this reduction in force will be temporary, unpredictable orders and limited information concerning longer-term customer forecasts make the length of this reduction very difficult to predict in the current market environment.”
Zampogna was not available for comment.
Sparta Mayor Rob Link said, “This will affect the entire surrounding area. There are many people who work outside Sparta that this will affect, too. It is time for the community to pull together. To unite. To make sure people have heat in their house and food on their table.”
The company has sent out notifications according to the Federal Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification (WARN) Act . The WARN notifications are a federal requirement for employers in the event of mass lay-offs and/or plant closings. The act stipulates that employers must give 60 days notice if they are going to close plants or commit mass lay-offs. That is, unless “the lay-off is caused by business circumstances that were not reasonably foreseeable as of the time that notice would otherwise have been required,” according to the press release by Zampogna. The release goes on to say, “…these sudden and unforeseeable reductions in customer demand have led to this shortened notice period. This action is a reduction in force. There is no intention to close the Sparta, Il location.”
“Spartan Light Metals is a stable company,” said Mayor Link, “They have invested a lot in the Sparta facility. I feel confident the work force will be put back to work.”
The Sparta facility is not the first production facility to be reduced by Spartan. There have been work force reductions in Mexico and Hannibal, Mo as well as three other plants in: Detroit, MI, St. Louis, MO, and Tokyo, Japan. Many reasons point to the decline of the automotive industry in general.
Founded in 1961, by Henry A. Jubel the company was quick to become one of the leading metal die casting companies in the U.S. For the first year, Jubel reportedly slept at his new factory due to a small work force. Spartan remains a private, family-owned company, with Henry’s son, Donald A. Jubel currently handling the reigns. Spartan produces lightweight metal die castings fro the automotive industry. An international company, they supply to such companies as Ford, Toyota and Honda Their products include: cold chamber aluminum and magnesium, hot chamber magnesium, aluminum permanent, precious metal, iron, copper, lead, brass, bronze, ferrous/non-ferrous alloy, and stainless steel die castings. Reports are varied concerning the annual revenue Spartan can generate and ranges from $50-180 million. In 2004, Spartan received an exclusive licensing agreement from NASA for use of the MSF-398.1 aluminum/silicon alloy.