Exide Technologies announced layoffs of 64 employees at the Vernon battery recycling facility that has been blamed for lead and arsenic emissions.
The layoffs, announced Thursday, affect 61 employees who are members of the United Steelworkers Union and three salaried employees. Exide plans to keep the job cuts in effect pending decisions on the future of its Vernon plant.
Exide is also delaying layoffs for dozens of other employees who are to remain on the job in order install new equipment and develop improved work practices that may allow a reopening of the Vernon facility. The recycling plant has been closed since March for maintenance.
The Southern California Air Quality Management District is requiring Exide to implement air pollution controls before its Vernon facility can resume operations. Exide reports the company will spend $5 million on that project, as part of $20 million being spent since 2010 on environmental, health and safety projects.
“We’re all working together to put significant operational enhancements in place, including installing air emission control technology and establishing processes designed to further reduce emissions, protect public health and facilitate compliance with the stricter new air quality regulations,” said Thomas Strang, Exide’s vice president for environment health and safety in a statement announcing the layoffs.
The Southern California Air Quality Management District has also filed a civil enforcement lawsuit against Exide over alleged lead and arsenic emissions that are purported to have taken place from 2008 until March of this year.
In announcing the layoffs on Thursday, the company said it postponed planned layoffs for 73 other workers.