STANFORD — Roughly one-fourth of the employees at a major Lincoln County employer will be losing their jobs, but local officials say rumors the company is leaving Lincoln County are false.
Economic Development Director Matt Belcher said Affinia Brake Parts Inc. will be reducing the workforce at its Stanford factory by 75.
BPI announced in late October it was planning "permanent employment separations" beginning Dec. 28, but did not provide a number at that time.
BPI currently employs around 300 people.
BPI spokeswoman Janet Smith confirmed that the Stanford facility would be scaling back by 75 jobs, but declined to comment further.
According to written statements issued by BPI, the reduction in the workforce will be gradual, with separations "continuing over the next several months until the reduction is complete."
"They are not closing — I want to emphasize that," Belcher said Thursday, a day after a private meeting with BPI. "They are not closing and they are not moving to China. From all indications … this is an isolated event and they do not expect future cuts."
Belcher said BPI's parent company, Affinia, has no plans to leave the area because a lot of the materials it uses in its products are manufactured in nearby Kentucky communities.
"It's to their advantage to keep a U.S. manufacturing facility," he said. "They've been here a long time and I don't expect them to pull up roots. They're anchored here, not only in Stanford but in this region."
Belcher said the reductions in BPI's workforce are due to reduced demand for the factory's after-market car products.
There's usually a slow-down in sales every winter because people are driving fewer miles but "it's never been as bad as it's been this year. That's the reason they're cutting people back," Belcher said.
BPI and local and state officials have scheduled a "rapid response" meeting for employees who are losing their jobs, Belcher said.
The meeting will provide the affected workers with information about unemployment and different programs that are available to them, with the goal of finding each one of them employment as soon as possible.
Lincoln County Judge-Executive Jim Adams said the employees who are losing their jobs are going to be treated "fairly well."
"The sky is not falling like some people thought," he said Thursday. "I feel better about it than I did yesterday."