Weeks after Vestas announced to Weld County employees their hours would be cut to near part-time status, their counterparts in Pueblo got the same news.
The company —which just won a bit of federal reprieve with the extension of the wind Production Tax Credit, which is expected to revive orders this year — announced this week that hours for employees at the Pueblo tower factory will be cut to 24 hours a week.
The shorter work weeks are set to begin Jan. 14, according to Andrew Longeteig, company spokesman. The company announced last month that Windsor and Brighton blade manufacturing employees will be cut back to 32 hours a week. Hours will not be cut back at the Brighton nacelle plant, Longeteig said.
The company had been blaming its layoffs on an industry slowdown precipitated by Congress not committing to an extension of the PTC — which pays wind farmers 2.2 cents per kilowatt of electricity produced for 10 years. Domestic orders for 2013 slowed throughout the year in anticipation of the credit going away.
But even with the extension, that doesn’t immediately bring back the lost business. The extension applies the credit to any project started this year, even if it takes another year to finish it.
In an announcement this week, Vestas stated it was still going through with previously announced cost-cutting measures, which included further trimming its payrolls by another 2,000 employees worldwide by the end of this year.
“We can’t speculate on how the PTC extension will affect future employment levels at our Colorado factories,” Longeteig said in a written statement. “Vestas must remain flexible to adapt to changing market demands in 2013 and beyond.”
The company’s Colorado manufacturing workforce is now at about 1,100 from 1,700 at the beginning of 2012. The reduction is mostly due to layoffs — about 300 in Windsor alone — but the rest through attrition and transfers. The company has another 100 or so employees that are not in manufacturing, Longeteig reported, for a total of 1,200 employees remaining in Colorado.