Locke Insulators Inc. announced plans to permanently close its Port Covington, Baltimore plant, a move that will eliminate 108 jobs (84 production-related employees and 24 salaried workers). The company said the manufacturing plan will wind down operations over the next few months as demand for its electric utility insulators winds down.
The company, which is owned by Japanese parent company NKG Insulators Ltd, makes porcelain station post insulators. Baltimore-based NKG-Locke is in charge of sales and marketing.
“We remain committed to supporting Locke’s employees throughout this difficult transition,” said Don McKenzie, president of Locke Insulators Inc. “We will consider the assistance to be provided to employees losing their jobs after the union representing Locke’s production employees has had an opportunity to review the shutdown of the manufacturing facility.”
James Cook, president of the local chapter of United Electrical, Radio and Machine Workers of America, said the union was caught off guard by the closure and layoffs. Cook said that just last fall, the union negotiated a three-year contract in effect until September 2019.
Company spokesperson Ray Weiss says the company hasn’t decided what to do yet with the lot located at 2525 Insulator Drive. However, the property is located within the Port Covington area, where Sagamore Development is planning a $5.5-billion redevelopment. Sagamore has not said whether or not it is looking to buy the 26 acre plot of land.
Interestingly, Sagamore Development Co. LLC, said in January 2016 that it owns 161 acres of Port Covington, or 61% of the land it is redeveloping. Preliminary development plans for the mixed-use site showed Locke Insulators in the middle of the development, like the hole of a donut.
In 2015, Sagamore acquired Nick’s Fish House, which is next door to the Locke plant, for $5.9 million.
This is the third major layoff to hit Maryland in as many months. On July 10, Inovalon Holdings Inc (NASDAQ:INOV), a Bowie, Maryland-based health technology company, jettisoned 113 jobs . At the end of 2016, the company employed 2,453 people, 870 less than at the end of 2015.
In May, Kaydon Ring & Seal, Inc., an aerospace parts maker, announced it will begin to close its Baltimore factory and lay off 217 employees. Layoffs began on July 13 and will occur in four phases through to April 2019.
“WARN Notice,” Maryland Department of Labor, Licensing & Regulation, last accessed July 11, 2017.
“Locke Insulators to close, lay off 108 workers,” The Baltimore Sun, July 10, 2017.
“Kevin Plank’s real estate firm offers first look at multibillion-dollar Port Covington project,” Baltimore Business Journal, last accessed July 11, 2017.