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Exide to lay off 167 workers next month

Sharon Hayes • Nov 1, 2012 at 8:29 AM

BRISTOL, Tenn. — Exide Technologies plans to lay off 167 people at its Bristol plant next month.

The battery maker has notified the Tennessee Department of Labor and Workforce Development that the layoff will take place between Dec. 17 and 31.

The job losses are not unexpected. Employees were told a year ago that the company would eliminate more than 200 jobs at the Bristol plant over the coming 12 to 18 months and consolidate manufacturing operations elsewhere.

“At that time, we said it would take 12 to 18 months for us to work through our transition plan, so that’s exactly what this is,” said Susan Jaramillo, senior director of Exide corporate communications.

Jaramillo said 236 employees will continue to work at the plant after the December layoffs. But more of the manufacturing operations are expected to be moved next year, leading to another round of job losses, she said.

Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey, R-Blountville, said Thursday the news is not a surprise.

“That’s been coming for a long time,” Ramsey said.

He said that following Exide’s announcement last year, he accompanied Economic Development Commissioner Bill Hagerty, Sullivan County Mayor Steve Godsey and Richard Venable, CEO of NETWORKS — Sullivan Partnership, to Atlanta to meet with Exide executives, hoping to convince them to maintain the jobs in Bristol.

“They basically said ‘Look, we’ve lost several big contracts, including Walmart,’” Ramsey said.

Exide has operated in Bristol since 1994. The company’s spiral wound product line at the Bristol plant is not expected to be impacted.

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