Thanks to an uptick in demand for cement, 77 Lafarge employees will begin returning to work as early as Monday. The plant's employees were laid off in early April when the plant had a full inventory of product and not enough orders to get rid of it.
As a result the plant was forced to trim its workforce and shut down its kilns until market and demand for the product picked up. Craig Ryan, public relation manager for Lafarge, said things have improved enough to have the workers return to work.
"We will have everybody back over the course of the next few weeks," he said. "We are going to do it in steps. We will have some beginning Monday and more from then on. We have to do it that way because we can't start up all the kilns at one time."
The layoff was anticipated to last longer than what it turned out to be. Ryan said he is glad the workers are coming back and that business conditions have improved. He also said he hopes the improved business climate can continue.
"We thought that we would bring everyone back in June, but we will have everyone back by then," Ryan said. "This was unexpected news, but very welcome news. We know now that we have a lot of product to make to get through the summer and it looks like things will be good for the remainder of 2010. Only time will tell if it will prove to be sustainable though."
Steve Schulwitz can be reached via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 358-5689.