Contec idles 132 production workers at Sch’dy cable-box plant

Today marked the last day for 132 workers at Contec Holdings on State Street, as pricing pressures f

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Today marked the last day for 132 workers at Contec Holdings on State Street, as pricing pressures from customers and a drop in orders sparked morning layoffs for the set-top cable box repairer.

The company, which acts as a supplier to major cable companies like Comcast, Time Warner, Rogers, Cablevision, Cox, Shaw and Charter, said the job cuts were a financial decision.

“Economic pressures are causing us to make adjustments to our workforce,” said Carroll Foreman, chief executive officer for Contec. “We will cease production operations in this plant.”

Though production will cease at its Schenectady facility, Contec will retain 85 workers, Foreman said, for personnel, information technology, engineering, sales, materials, human resources, and other corporate support functions.

The building’s lease runs through the end of 2011.

“I don’t know what the future will bring,” Foreman said. “We intend to maintain the workforce that we have now and the corporate support that we have.”

Production equipment that will no longer be used at Contec’s Schenectady facility will not be liquidated, Foreman said, but is set to go to Contec’s other locations in Seattle, Wash., Matamoros, Mexico, and Mexico City.

“We will move the equipment to other locations as we deem it necessary,” Foreman said.

Metroplex Development Authority Chairman Ray Gillen said he was assured the headquarters and related office positions for corporate support would stay in Schenectady.

Foreman said he will work with Metroplex and the Department of Labor to get workers back into the labor force as soon as possible.

“We will arrange seminars for all our displaced employees and we will provide them the mechanism to get the benefits they need — retraining and job placement,” Foreman said.

Affected workers will be notified as soon as these events are scheduled, but in the mean time will receive incremental severance payments within 60 days.

Peak employment for Contec’s Schenectady facility was three years ago, when 500 people worked there, according to Contec.

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