Flying High since 1998.

Gov. McAuliffe Claims New Jobs in Smyth County - Not Really

by Lewis Loflin

Woodgrain Millwork announces the rehiring of 17 workers in Marion, Virginia. They started in 1996 with around 30 workers and now employs 140. This is touted as being related to the forestry industry which is puzzling - the State has spent millions trying to diversify the local economy away from mineral extraction (coal) and timber. Instead this company is being paid $100,000 to do just the opposite of other efforts.

Closing date of Kennametal plant in Chilhowie is undetermined.

Tuesday, May 31, 2016 Stephanie Porter-Nichols

The 89 employees at the Kennametal plant in Chilhowie learned Thursday that the company had decided to shut down the facility and relocate the operation to another plant in Pennsylvania. However, employees don't yet know when the plant will be shuttered.

Christina Sutter, a spokesperson for the Latrobe, Pa.-based Kennametal, said, "The timeline for the process as well as other details of the transition will be determined in our effects bargaining process with the local union." That process is one in which an employer will bargain over the effects of such a shutdown with the local union.

Sutter said, "This decision is directly related to our marketplace and economic considerations within our operations to remain competitive. ... The decision to close the Chilhowie facility was a very difficult one and we understand the effect it will have on our employees. We are committed to working closely with the Local Union #15094-02 and government officials to make necessary resources available to them to ensure a successful transition to new opportunities."

Read the full story at

Casket making company closes Piney Flats plant By Jess Cartwright June 22, 2016

Piney Flats, Tenn. - A company that makes caskets announced it is closing its local plant.

Matthews Aurora Funeral Solutions is moving its operations out of its facility in Piney Flats, and they are now shifting the production to their plant in York, Pennsylvania. The transition will begin this fall and the Piney Flats plant will eventually close in early next year. According to company officials, plant employees were notified on Tuesday and all have been offered severance packages and other support. WCYB News 5 asked the company how many employees would be affected, but the company said that it does not disclose that information.

Aurora was lured to Piney Flats in 2006. To quote Sullivan County officials the company was supposed to employ 100 workers, so I'll assume another 100 layoffs.

CSX to reduce operations, workforce in Erwin, TN; impacting 300 jobs

October 15, 2015, ERWIN, TN (WJHL) - CSX announced Thursday morning it plans to reduce train operations at it Erwin, TN yard. Around 300 contract and management employee will be impacted.

The decision, according to a press release, was due to "significantly reduced coal traffic through the region."

On the bad side we lost another 350 good manufacturing jobs in nearby Bristol at Ball Corp. plus another 120 from Bristol Compressors. I hope this company will last. Ref. BHC April 19, 2016.

This is the company press release:

Ball to Realign Beverage Packaging End-Making Capacity in North America

BROOMFIELD, Colo., July 29, 2015 -- Ball Corporation [NYSE: BLL] announced today that it will cease production at the company's Bristol, VA., beverage packaging end-making plant during the second quarter of 2016. The plant's capacity will be supplied by other Ball facilities.

Ball expects to record a total after-tax charge of approximately $19 million, primarily for employee severance and benefits, facility shut down costs and other actions. The majority of the charge is expected to be recorded in the third quarter of 2015.

"This action will better align our manufacturing footprint to meet the needs of our customers as we actively manage our overall cost structure," said Daniel W. Fisher, president, North American metal beverage packaging. "Closing a plant is a difficult decision. We compete against plastic, glass and metal packaging in a highly competitive market, and we will continue to maximize value in our existing operations through optimizing our network, as well as expanding into new and growing products, capabilities and markets to meet the needs of our customers."

The Bristol plant opened in 1971 and is one of Ball's oldest North American beverage packaging plants. It produces beverage can ends in a variety of sizes, and employs approximately 230 people. Bristol employees will be provided benefits in accordance with the effects bargaining process, and will be able to apply for open positions within Ball.