Corning moves production of Polarscor

Corning Inc. will move production of its specialty Polarcor glass to its Canton plant in the 2H 2009.
Officials with United Steel Workers, which represents workers at Canton, said they worked hard on…

Corning Inc. will move production of its specialty Polarcor glass to its Canton plant in the 2H 2009. Officials with United Steel Workers, which represents workers at Canton, said they worked hard on an agreement with Corning to bring the line from a soon-to-be-closed plant in Virginia even though it probably will not mean more than eight jobs for both union and non-union employees. “This product line helps secure the jobs we have here”, union representative James H. Ridgeway said. “It“s a high-profit line”. After several rounds of layoffs and a three-week shutdown, the Canton plant has about 85 unionized workers and 80 salaried employees, according to union officials. “Anytime we have a chance of bringing people back to the plant, that“s a positive”, Local 1026 President Anthony M. Badlam said. “It“s work. It“s money coming in. I“m just hoping more business can come to the Canton plant”. Corning recently announced that it will close its plant in Danville, Virginia, where Polarcor is made, by the end of 2009. The closure means a loss of about 200 jobs. Corning will discontinue two other product lines made in Danville. An undetermined number of support staff will move from the Danville plant to Canton, Corning spokeswoman Sarah I. Horvath said. Engineers are working on a design for renovation of available space at the Canton facility, Ms. Horvath said. In today“s economic turmoil, just keeping existing jobs is important. Gaining more is a plus, said Raymond H. Fountain, St. Lawrence County Industrial Development Agency executive director. The Canton plant, which is in the town of DeKalb, competed with a Corning plant in Keene, New Hampshire, for the Polarcor line, Mr. Ridgeway said. “It was an unbelievably close call”, he said. “They wanted a little bit of flexibility with the work force, which we gave them. They wanted for people who bid on a job to stay for a year”. Polarcor is used in the telecommunications, aerospace and defense industries. It is a mainstay of Corning“s specialty materials line and is found in every optical network in the world. The Canton plant produces high-purity fused silica, which is used for lenses in machines that make semiconductor chips for computers and other electronic products. The factory also produces calcium fluoride crystals, used in the semiconductor industry, and telescope mirrors.