Business & Economy

Breaking: Energizer to lay off workers in Bennington, use 'external manufacturing'

Energizer has confirmed that the company will lay off workers at the Bennington plant at an undisclosed time and use “external” resources to manufacture hearing aid batteries.

Bonnie Kalinowski, the human resources director for Energizer’s location in Bennington, confirmed on Friday that the company would lay off workers. She did not say how many or when.

The plant currently employs 100 to 250 people.

The workers make hearing aid batteries for the national company Energizer Holdings, which is publicly traded under $ENR. In August, the company announced it lost $19.6 million in the most recent quarter.

Matt Smith, the plant manager for the Bennington location, said in an email that “staffing decisions” are still being finalized and will be communicated to the company’s colleagues first.

He also wrote that the company would not fully close down its Bennington plant. Instead, he said the company would “streamline” its hearing aid battery segment by this coming spring.

“As a company, Energizer is committed to providing high-quality products that meet the needs of our customers and consumers,” Smith said. “We are able to achieve that through a combination of internal and external manufacturing.”

Peter Odierna, the executive director of the Bennington County Industrial Corp., said the business is “right-sizing with regards to the fundamentals of the business.”

Odierna said his organization would “work very aggressively” to find new opportunities for the laid-off workers, who have not yet been notified they’re losing their jobs.

Sen. Dick Sears, D-Bennington, said he has lived in the town for 40 years and the plant has been there for as long as he can remember. He called the region, including bordering Massachusetts and New York, depressed.

“It’s a huge blow to this region,” Sears said. “We’ve already suffered several losses of industry and businesses, and it’s one of those companies that’s been here for such a long time and that we count on for jobs and our economic growth.

“Every time we lose high-paying jobs we seem to replace them with low-paying jobs,” he said.

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Erin Mansfield

About Erin

Erin Mansfield covers health care and business for VTDigger. From 2013 to 2015, she wrote for the Rutland Herald and Times Argus. Erin holds a B.A. in Economics and Spanish from the State University of New York at Stony Brook, where she also attended journalism school. Erin has worked in public and private schools across Vermont and interned in the U.S. Senate. She has been published by the Columbia Journalism Review and the Society of Professional Journalists. She grew up in Killington.

Email: [email protected]

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