ADVERTISEMENT

A Chautauqua County manufacturer has told the state that it will close its plant in May, affecting 75 jobs.

Premier Lakewood has filed a notice that its Lakewood facility will close May 6 after starting to lay off workers May 1. The die casting plant is part of Premier Tool and Die Cast Corp., which is headquartered in Michigan.

Premier, which has three other facilities in its home state, cited “economic” reasons for closing the facility.

William J. Daly, chief executive officer of the County of Chautauqua Industrial Development Agency, said the Lakewood plant was the victim of a bigger-picture decision by the company’s leaders. “They have excess capacity in Michigan, where they have three plants that do the same thing.”

Daly said a handful of the workers might be offered jobs, such as in sales capacities, to continue working for Premier in Chautauqua County. Some others might be offered opportunities to transfer to Michigan. But he said local officials will be working with the company to assist local employees who will be out of jobs.

Premier leases the Lakewood facility from Lexington Die Casting Co., which bought the business in 1992. In late 2004, Lexington warned it might close the Lakewood plant if a buyer could not be found. Premier stepped in to buy the operation, but not the plant itself, in 2005.

Daly said a few years ago that Premier explored the idea of buying the facility and expanding it, but that plan did not come to fruition. With Premier’s departure, Daly said he expects the 93,000-square- foot facility will go back on the market.

Chautauqua County’s manufacturing employment averaged 9,833 workers in 2013, which was down slightly from 10,000 the previous two years. Among its prominent manufacturers are Cummins Inc.’s engine plant.

Premier disclosed the upcoming closing as part of the Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act, which requires private employers with at least 50 full-time workers to provide employees with notice 90 days before a mass layoff or plant closing. Companies that fail to comply may be required to pay back wages and benefits to workers and may face civil penalties.

email: mglynn@buffnews.com