A Montpelier-based business will be permanently closing its doors in October.
Rassini Chassis Systems, 1812 Magda Drive, Montpelier, sent out a WARN (Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification) Act notice letter, something which Jason Rockey, village manager, said businesses need to do for certain benefits.
According to the WARN notice, provided by Rockey, the permanent closing is expected to begin on Oct. 2 or within 14 days thereafter.
Approximately 70 employees are expected to be terminated within the month and by Dec. 31.
“This notice is being given due to unforeseen business circumstances,” the letter, signed by Jose Luis Resendiz, director of operations and technology for Rassini, states. “Specifically, changed market conditions, increasing steel prices, customer dynamics and lost customer business led to this closing. The affected employees are not represented by any labor organization and do not have bumping rights.”
According to its website, Rassini is an international company that provides engineering solutions through the design and manufacture of components for suspension, brakes and anti-vibration systems for automotive industry.
The company has locations in Brazil, the U.S. and Mexico.
Rassini officials could not be reached for comment by press time Monday.
The Montpelier plant, according to its website, supplies automotive spring assemblers.
Rockey said there was a meeting last week with Rassini management, Williams County Economic Development Corporation (WEDCO), Williams County Department of Jobs and Family Services and JobsOhio about the plans moving forward.
While Rockey said he didn’t have much to contribute to that meeting, he did request the organizations gathered make efforts to help workers find new employment.
“They are able to provide in-house job fairs and stuff for the employees at those factories closing up and work with the building owners to make a job transition,” Rockey said. “There was a lot of discussion on that. But, it’s not something the Village of Montpelier is able to provide.”
He directed questions on those comments to Megan Hausch, executive director of WEDCO, who didn’t return a call requesting comment by press time.
WEDCO, Rockey said, is the “point of contact” for other departments, such as JobsOhio.
“The fact that WEDCO is involved should be very helpful; They have resources for property owners, they have resources for employees, all kinds of different things,” he said. “All those different things run through WEDCO, they are sort of organized by WEDCO.”
According to another letter obtained separately by The Bryan Times, Rassini attempted to avoid the plant closure and the decision wasn’t made quickly.
Efforts to keep the plant open date back to 2018, when the team started consulting with advisors and investors on how to stay in operation.
“When we broke ground on the plant in 2001, we were thrilled to have expanded our manufacturing presence into the United States with our first ever production facility outside of Mexico and South America,” the letter, also signed by Resendiz, stated. “We are saddened that changing market conditions, uncertainty and the loss of important contracts have resulted in us having to close the Montpelier facility.”
The letter expressed gratitude and appreciation for welcoming Rassini into the community.
“We deeply appreciate the loyalty of those who have worked with us and our foremost concern is ensuring that our employees will be able to find new work in the community,” the letter continues. “We will provide severance packages and assistance to our employees to ease the transition.”
At a meeting of the Montpelier Village Council on Monday evening, Rockey said he had two concerns.
The first was about the employees, though he had some good news on that front.
“A number of businesses in our community are hiring employees,” Rockey said at the meeting. “Rassini management confirmed that they had already received a number of calls from other human resources departments about the quality of their employees ... There are already companies looking to hire Rassini’s people.
The second concerned the hit it will make on the electric lode.
Rassini is the second biggest user of the village’s electricity, he said.
“I’m not sure what the likelihood is we’ll able to find another heavy manufacturing customer to fill that building,” Rockey said. “Hopefully the jobs are retained, that’s No. 1 ... We’d also like to see somebody pick up a little bit of that electrical, but we’re not sure that’s going to be in the cards.”
Discussions about the projection of the village’s usage will start sometime this fall. He said he already reached out to American Municipal Power and Courtney and Associates, a public utilities consulting firm, about the loss, in order to appropriately plan for next year.