ABB manufacturing plant in Vieques closing next month
[EDITOR’S NOTE: This story has been updated to include information about government assistance for laid-off employees.]
Electrical & Electronic Manufacturing operation ABB will be shutting down its plant in the island municipality of Vieques — where it is one of the largest employers — next month, Mayor José Corcino told this media outlet.
The closing will leave 45 people unemployed, the mayor said.
In a statement, ABB confirmed its decision to stop production at its Vieques plant by the end of April.
“ABB has made the decision to stop manufacturing at the Vieques, Puerto Rico plant due to its global product lifecycle strategy, as products currently manufactured at Vieques will no longer be a part of the product portfolio,” the company stated.
“In addition, following ABB’s global factory footprint optimization, the remaining products will be moved to other ABB facilities, including a facility in Puerto Rico. The move is expected to be completed by the end of April 2021, at which time the Vieques facility will close,” the company said.
ABB’s Electrification business in Puerto Rico manufactures low-voltage electrical distribution and control products and components and installation connection products at three facilities with 1,000 employees in plants located in Arecibo and Vega Baja.
In 2017, ABB bought GE Industrial Solutions, the former General Electric’s global electrification solutions business, which operated the plant in Vieques for decades.
As for the affected employees, ABB confirmed that it will provide support during the transition.
“This support includes offering job opportunities at another Puerto Rico facility to those employees wishing to pursue them in addition to providing the corporate benefits package for eligible employees,” it added.
“We would like to take this opportunity to thank our Vieques team for their hard work and dedication to the plant and the community. The Vieques plant has been operating for 52 years, and the employees have worked closely to support the Vieques community over the years,” the company stated.
Meanwhile, the Department of Economic Development and Commerce, through its Workforce Development Program (WDP) has been working with affected employees.
“Since ABB announced the Vieques’s plant closure, the WDP Rapid Response Unit has been providing online services, which include psychological support and counseling to the dislocated employees,” said WPD Director Jenny Mar Cañón-Feliciano.
“Furthermore, WDP Rapid Response Unit has been offering the following online workshops: managing job loss and how to transition, job interview techniques, and financial planning. On March 25-26, WDP Rapid Response will be visiting the island of Vieques to continue guiding and providing the necessary services,” she said.