NORTH RIVER - In yet another sign of the times, a 130-year-old local economic main-stay laid off nearly 15 percent of its local labor force this past week.
Barton Mines, LLC, laid off 13 employees on March 26 in an effort to reduce operating costs and to offset a reduction in international demand for garnet, its primary product.
"We fully understand the importance of our company in the North Creek region," said Barton Director of Human Resources Rob Albano. "It is very unfortunate it had to come to this."
According to a prepared statement issued by Barton Chief Executive Officer Chuck Bracken, in addition to the 13 layoffs at the company's plant on the border of North River and Indian Lake, two positions were eliminated at the company's business office in Glens Falls. Further, eight staff members will be working reduced hours.
Before the layoffs, approximately 112 people were employed at the mine, plant and business office, Albano said.
"The layoffs are obviously a result of the recession and a decline in demand," Albano said.
According to the statement, Bracken said that all laid off employees have been offered a severance package and the company is extending their health insurance coverage in an attempt to mitigate the disastrous effects which often surround sudden unemployment.
" We offer our sincerest regrets to those employees affected by this decision, and thank them for their service to Barton and our customers," Bracken said. "In keeping with our longstanding traditions in the community, we have worked extremely hard in an effort to avoid taking this difficult step."
Bracken said that a national decline in manufacturing and construction is responsible for the reduction in garnet demand.
Garnet is often used as an abrasive in a range of industrial applications.
Although the economic conditions warranted the staffing reductions, Bracken said that Barton acknowledges its history in the area and will continue to exist into the foreseeable future.
"We remain highly confident in Barton's continuing, long-term success as a leader in the garnet abrasives industry, and as a vibrant member of the North Creek business community," Bracken said.