ATC Panels lays off more workers

Published 4:22 pm Monday, October 13, 2008

Twenty-six people at ATC Panels in Isle of Wight are out of a job — almost half of the workforce left after the last round of layoffs at the facility.

William Ward, who worked there as a maintenance department shift repairman A class for 35 years, said he was notified on Thursday that his job was being eliminated but was allowed to work the rest of his 40-hour week.

“I’m at work now, finishing up,” Ward said during a brief phone call on Friday. “My last day is today.”

Ward said many veteran employees were let go.

“Some of us were notified by phone,” he said.

ATC Panels is owned by Aconcagua Holdings, a company formed in May 2004 by several Chilean investors.

Last October, ATC laid off 70 to 90 employees, citing the poor condition of the U.S. housing market and the rising cost of raw materials.

Before that round of layoffs, the company, which manufactures composite panels, had about 135 employees working at the plant just outside of Franklin. Today, there are fewer than 30 on the site, Ward said.

“Everybody feels it’s just a matter of time before they just shut the doors,” Ward said.