Harsco Rail to close Michigan plant

Written by Staff and newswire report
Harsco Rail
Harsco Rail’s Mark VI Tamper
Harsco Rail

Harsco Rail will close its manufacturing facility in Ludington, Mich., as the company consolidates production operations in Columbia, South Carolina.

Some 134 workers will be affected, according to local media reports and social-media posts by Harsco employees. Some workers are expected to be offered transfers to South Carolina.

No layoffs or other actions involving workers are expected prior to April 1.

“We are constantly evaluating our business and our business strategy,” a spokesperson for Harsco said in a written statement.  “We have determined that there are numerous significant benefits for consolidating and centralizing all manufacturing operations and distribution into one manufacturing facility for North America Rail Equipment.  Our facility in Ludington, Michigan will start transitioning production activities to our Columbia, South Carolina location during the first quarter of the year.  We anticipate the completion of this transition by the end of June.”

A spokesperson for the UAW local that represents Harsco workers in Ludington could not be reached for comment. The South Carolina facility is non-union. Workers there turned turned back a union bid in a 173-77 vote, in 2015.

In addition to the Michigan and South Carolina plants, Harsco Rail operates facilities in Fairmont, MN, and a research/consulting operation in Cherry Hill, NJ.  It is unclear if any of the work from those facilities will also be folded into South Carolina. Nor is it clear if Harsco plans to discontinue any of the vehicles manufactured in Michigan. An email request seeking clarification from Harsco’s public relations department was not immediately returned.

Harsco Rail builds a variety of railroad construction and track maintenance vehicles. Among the better-known pieces of equipment in the Harsco stable are the Mark VI Tamper, the  RGHC Transit Grinder series, the Stoneblower track geometry machines and the Production Tie Exchanger.

Harsco provides equipment and services to railroads and transit systems across the world, including the New York City subway, the Singapore’s Land Transport Authority, and Denver’s Regional Transportation District.

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