A January press release from The Danfoss Commercial Compressors facility announced the closure of its Arkadelphia facility but due to a low unemployment rate coupled with an influx of interest in the plant facilities and the Arkadelphia’s Industrial Park in general Arkadelphia area residents should not be overly alarmed. The Danfoss plant has been making small capacity scroll compressors, condensing units, and assembling high-pressure pumps at the Arkadelphia location since its purchase in 2006. The closure, which will result in the loss of one-hundred-seventy jobs, is planned to be concluded by the end of 2020. Danfoss says it is closing to combine its scroll compressor and condensing unit production to remain competitive in the industry, citing decreased market demand.
According to Stephen Bell, President & CEO of the Arkadelphia Regional Economic Development Alliance and Area Chamber of Commerce, and the statement released by Danfoss, the company is working with the displaced employees, offering generous severance packages and outplacement support services. Laid-off workers can also utilize the Governor’s Dislocated Worker Taskforce for retraining and job placement assistance. Bell says, “The employees are being allowed to work as much overtime as they want until the plant begins closing its operations in June of this year.” Bell went on to contend that closing the Danfoss plant may not negatively affect workers and citizens in Clark County, Arkadelphia area, in the long run. Bell alluded to a low 3.5% unemployment rate and said there are already several companies looking at the plant facility with great interest to bring in new industries to the city.
Veolia, a French company that works in water management, waste management, and energy services, is one company that is interested in Arkadelphia. They announced on January 3rd of this year that an agreement had been signed with Alcoa USA to assume leadership over the Hazardous Waste Treatment Site located in Gum Springs. The Gum Springs plant has primarily treated waste byproducts from aluminum production. Veolia will be increasing the number of forms and amount of hazardous waste that will be disposed of by the facility. One-hundred-forty new jobs are also in the plans, which Bell noted are high paying union jobs. Another company, Siplast Inc., is expected to create 10-15 jobs in the roofing manufacturing industry as well.
Over the years, employment at the Arkadelphia plant has fluctuated. Bell indicated that employees had told him they felt that something was coming because of changes in work hours since last summer. According to an Arkansas Business journal article, Danfoss previously laid off forty-five full-time workers in 2012, which was in an attempt to improve the company’s competitiveness in the construction market. Then another hundred jobs lost in 2011, but Danfoss hired seventy additional employees between 2014-2015.
Danfoss Group, is an international company with eighty-seven locations in thirty-nine countries today, employing 28,000 employees around the world. These figures represent an increase since the 2012 layoffs, up from 23,000 employees in fifty-eight plants spanning eighteen countries. Danfoss Group, headquartered in Nordberg, Denmark, provides services, machinery, and other products used in the heating and cooling industry. (Craft.co)