STANFORD — One of Lincoln County's largest employers has announced it plans to cut an unspecified number of jobs from its Stanford location.
Affinia Brake Parts Inc. will begin "permanent employment separations" on Dec. 28, according to a letter sent to Stanford Mayor Bill Miracle.
"The company's decision to reduce its workforce at Stanford was difficult, but it is in the best interests of the company and its shareholders based on the company's ability to compete within a global market," the letter reads.
A statement released by Affinia public relations says lower demand in North America and "excess global capacity" are to blame for the cutbacks.
"This decision was based on current economic conditions and has no reflection on the quality and commitment of our people in Stanford," the statement reads.
BPI spokeswoman Janet Smith said the company has no comment beyond the written statements it has issued.
After initial job reductions begin Dec. 28, the company plans to continue reducing jobs "over the next several months until the reduction is complete," the letter to Miracle reads.
BPI, which is located in Stanford's industrial park, currently employs more than 300 people.
Lincoln County Economic Development Executive Director Matt Belcher said BPI has not provided any numbers or estimates of how many people will be losing their jobs.
Miracle said during Thursday's city council meeting the cut "could be 25 percent" of the workforce, but that he wasn't sure of any figure.
"We're going to start planning for the worst and hoping for the best," Miracle said. "We're going to have to look at some creative new ways to find jobs."
A meeting with BPI and state and local officials has been scheduled for Wednesday, Nov. 7. More specific numbers may be available after that meeting, Belcher said.
The meeting will include state officials who can provide information about economic development incentives that may be available for BPI.
Belcher said officials will hopefully meet with BPI multiple times to "make sure this is not a trend going forward."
"We're going to do everything possible" to keep BPI in Lincoln County, he said.
Officials will be working on a "rapid response" to get employees who lose their jobs unemployment and find them new jobs or training opportunities as soon as possible, Belcher said.
Despite the planned job losses at BPI, Belcher said there are other bright economic spots in Lincoln County, like at Lincoln Manufacturing Inc., which is working on its second expansion in two years that will add an estimated 15 jobs.
"This doesn't change our overall way we do business," he said of BPI's move.
Belcher said BPI's parent company, Affinia, is largely located overseas and BPI is one of its only U.S. facilities. Companies relocating jobs to other countries is a local and national problem, he added.
"Local communities depend upon these good-paying jobs," he said. "This is just another example of how we need to support U.S. manufacturing."