With its Vernon battery-recycling plant still shuttered thanks to a dispute with air-quality regulators, Exide Technologies issued temporary layoff notices Monday to more than 100 employees.
Exide officials were recently rebuffed by the South Coast Air Quality Management District and a judge in their effort to resume operations at the plant while it worked to install upgraded “negative pressure” furnaces designed to better control arsenic emissions.
The plant has been closed for weeks while it was undergoing other upgrades, but Exide officials said they needed more time to install new equipment to meet the more stringent emission requirements. Without a variance by the AQMD, however, the company cannot restart its plant.
“Because our Vernon facility is not currently operating and not able to meet the new operational standard without the necessary time to purchase, install and test the required equipment, we had not choice but to make this very difficult decision to temporarily lay off most of our workers — some of whom are second- or third-generation Exide employees,” according to Exide CEO Robert M. Caruso.
Exide officials said they have made arrangements with outside companies to continue battery-recycling operations.
According to Exide, the temporary layoffs will affect 20 salaried employees and 104 hourly workers.
Company officials have said they have agreed to invest more than $5 million in the plant over the next two years, bringing the firm’s total investment to more than $20 million since 2010, and reducing arsenic emissions by 95 percent.