Columbia factory shifts operations internationally to Mexico

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COLUMBIA - Watlow, an industrial heater manufacturer, announced Monday it will layoff 41 workers at their Columbia plant.

The company will begin moving production of its gas delivery and line heating products from its Columbia facility to Quertaro, Mexico.

Bob Moore, who is the Director of Marketing Communications at Watlow, said the Columbia plant will begin to build a new product. 

He said the new product requires fewer workers.

Workers were notified of their fate Monday. This Friday is their last day of work.

David Fawer, who works as Director of Operations at the Columbia factory, said the company will train some of the remaining staff for new positions.

He said the new product requires new skills.

“We empathize with the team members that are being affected, and we greatly appreciate their service to our company,” Fawer said.

Another round of layoffs are planned for July 2019.

One current factory worker, who asked to remain anonymous for fear of losing their job, said workers are scared they will be next.

The worker said the timing is rough because some families just bought a house or recently had kids.

"Even the ones who didn't just have changes in their life, it's rough," the worker said. "It's rough for all of us."