Pelco lays off more than 100 workers

January 13, 2010 

More than 100 workers at Clovis-based Pelco lost their jobs Wednesday as the surveillance-equipment manufacturer continues to trim its work force.

Most of the layoffs are at the Clovis manufacturing plant, company spokeswoman Kathleen Rhodes said. But a few cuts were scattered across other Pelco sites in the U.S., including New York, Las Vegas, Fort Collins, Colo., and Pleasanton.

The layoffs took effect immediately, Rhodes said, and involved almost all of the company's departments.

Wednesday's job cuts were the result of slower-than-expected sales in 2009, an expectation of weak growth in 2010 and more efficient manufacturing, company officials said. In addition, competition from companies in other countries has siphoned business away from Pelco and undermined its U.S. operations.

"This has been a very difficult conclusion for us to reach," Pelco CEO Dean Meyer said in a statement Wednesday.

"Layoffs are and have always been a last option for Pelco," Meyer said. "But ... we must realign the size of operations to better match current economic conditions and to adjust for manufacturing improvements."

Meyer said the company "will do everything we can" to help the affected employees, including severance packages, extended benefits, counseling and job-placement help.

The layoffs leave Pelco with slightly fewer than 1,800 employees at its Clovis plant and about 2,100 around the world, Rhodes said. The losses are a blow to job prospects in the Fresno-Clovis area. Together, the two cities had about 40,000 people out of work in November, the most recent figures available from the state Employment Development Department, and a combined unemployment rate of 14.5%.

Pelco has undergone a series of reductions since the company was purchased by a French conglomerate, Schneider Electric, in August 2007. When the deal was struck, Pelco employed about 2,200 people in Clovis and about 2,600 worldwide.

In 2008, Pelco closed its Clovis-based travel department, laying off about 15 people. An additional 19 jobs were cut when it closed its employee cafeteria, gift shop and corporate air service. Distribution sites in New York and Montreal also were closed.

Pelco made more cuts through 2009, closing a plant in Indiana and eliminating 17 sales jobs in Clovis. The company also froze salaries and staggered two-week furloughs over the second half of the year for employees in Clovis and other U.S. facilities.

The reporter can be reached at tsheehan@fresnobee.com or (559) 441-6319.

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