Local Industrial Businesses Laying Off HundredsPosted: Updated:
UNION GAP--Hundreds of industrial workers have lost their jobs in the last six months. Magic Metals is one of those businesses. In July 190 people worked at the shop in Union Gap; now that number's down to 80.
The sounds of the shop aren't as loud as they used to be. That's because the sheet metal products Magic Metals makes aren't in as much demand these days.
"It starts with inventory backing up on people's lots and they just stop placing orders," Chief Financial Officer Tim Lick said. "If there's no orders, we can't put anything out on the floor to build."
Terry Petty worked as a machinist for Irwin Research & Development in Yakima. He's been looking for a job since he was laid off in October, but no one's hiring.
"[I] couldn't go to the Tri-Cities or anywhere else to find a job because they were laying off also," Petty said.
Petty spent two years studying to become a machinist. Now he's on the verge of losing his house and his truck, and he'll take whatever job he can get.
"Basically what I've learned is gone. I mean, there's no jobs around."
Lick said Magic Metals had to cut more than half their staff just to come close to breaking even. Even in upper management, he doesn't feel secure.
"It might start at the factory floor but it works its way up to everybody."
Lick is hopeful things will improve over the next few months.
For Petty, change can't come soon enough.
"I hope all the time that something starts turning around, but I don't see it happening tomorrow."
Magic Metal is not the only industrial business struggling. Irwin R & D has laid off more than 100 people, including Terry Petty, since last fall.