Thursday, April 18, 2024

About 50 workers losing jobs at New Bern company

A German-based plastic injection molding operation that has had operations in New Bern for more than 20 years will layoff about 50 employees there starting in May.

Wirthwein New Bern makes plastic parts for dishwashers, Samsung products and the automotive industry among others, says Elizabeth Colon-Alves, the human resources manager in New Bern. The company has had operations in New Bern since 2003 and now has about 120 employees, says Colon-Alves.

The remaining 50 to 60 employees remaining at Wirthwein New Bern will service appliance maker BSH exclusively, says Guido Broder, the CEO of Wirthwein USA. German-based BSH also has a plant in New Bern.

“Business circumstances” make the layoffs necessary, according to paperwork filed with the N.C. Department of Commerce. The company is consolidating its appliance business in New Bern, according to the company. Other businesses, including automotive and new energy, will move out of the New Bern facility.

An exact number of layoffs is not known. In its paperwork with the state, the company states as many as 120 employees may be terminated, which would be the entire workforce. Colon-Alves says the plant is not being shut down.

The company’s only other U.S. plant began in Fountain Inn, South Carolina, in 2012. Wirthwein Fountain Inn mainly manufactures parts for the BMW plant in Spartanburg, South Carolina, according to the company website. Some of the New Bern workers could be offered jobs in Fountain Inn, says Broder.

Wirthwein was founded in 1949 in Creglingen, Germany, a town of less than 5,000 residents about 75 miles southwest of Frankfurt. The company, which has about 3,000 employees, also has operations in China, Poland, Spain and Turkey.

Craven County had an unemployment rate of 3.5% in January, according to the N.C. Department of Commerce.

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