OMYA To Close New Haven Plant


As many as 32 workers will lose jobs when OMYA,

Inc. closes the gates of its marble processing plant

in New Haven on December 31, a company spokesman said


"It was an old grinding plant - one we would

have had to spend substantial money on or phase out,"

said Robert Condon, a vice-president for OMYA's parent

company, Pluess Staufer Industries. "The decision

which was not easy - was to phase it out."

OMYA and Vermont Marble Company, based in Proctor

are subsidiaries of Pluess Staufer. The New Haven

operation was known as the white pigment plant.

Employees at the calcium carbonate plant in New

Haven were notified of the closure on Wednesday.

Condon said that under union contracts, OMYA was

required only to give five days notice of a closing.

"We purposefully made the announcement early,"

Condon said. "Considering the market conditions, we

wanted to give employees the opportunity to look at

other possibilities."

The New Haven plant closure will leave OMYA with

two calcium carbonate plants in Florence. The company

also owns two calcium carbonate plants in Canada.

In the past, the New Haven plant has been a

supplier to the Canadian market, Condon said.

"OMYA believes it can maintain its production

levels at its two Florence plants - one of which is

state of the art and far more efficient than the New

Haven plant," Condon said.

Pluess Staufer, a Swiss multi-national

corporation, is one of the world's largest producers

of calcium carbonate, a marble dust that is used in

the manufacturing of paper, paint, toothpaste and

other products.

In 1976, Pluess Staufer purchased the Vermont

Marble Company. The name OMYA emerged from a Pluess

Staufer operation in Omey, France, where the residents

are referred to as "Omyats."

OMYA employs about 200 people, according to


Some of the New Haven plant employees are

represented by the Steel Workers of America. Condon

said he expected negotiations between OMYA and the

union over the rights and opportunities of union


Condon said probably no more than five workers

from the New Haven plant would be able to transfer to

one of the company's Florence operations.

One worker interviewed Thursday said he was still

shocked by the news of the impending closing.

"I'm still trying to get over the whole thing,"

said the employee, who asked not to be identified.

"It's kind of a let down. You put in time, they don't

even offer to train you. They don't offer much chance

to move around. But that's just the way it is. I

guess that's big business."