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Columbia factory lays off 60 more

A spokesperson said the Columbia Watlow Electric operation had a “reduction in force,” handing out 60 more layoff notices Monday.

Watlow announced at the end of April that it was moving more of its operations to an existing Watlow plant in Mexico.

The initial round of layoffs in April left 41 people without a job. On Monday, that number rose to 101 people in what the company said is the “final round of layoffs.”

Watlow, which makes thermal systems, said in an April news release that it is moving its gas delivery and line heating production from its Columbia factory to a plant in Queretaro, Mexico. The items are used in making integrated circuits for the semiconductor industry.

The 60 team members notified Monday will lose their job on Aug. 2. The company said it laid off 30 percent of its Columbia workers, but all of them were provided severance packages and placement services.

The company spokesperson said the original number of layoffs was going to be higher, but due to attrition, it decreased to 30 percent.

The company said layoffs allow it to “make way for new, higher technology.” And the company’s plan is to turn the Columbia branch into a “manufacturing center for excellence,” which it said is a strategic plan for the company to serve its customers better.

Watlow has had its Mexico location for more than 20 years and has been moving legacy products to that facility, citing intense competition from overseas and lower-cost manufacturers.

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