By TRAVIS NEFF, Princeton Daily Clarion staff writer
PRINCETON-After 19 years in Gibson County, Orion America Inc., will cease manufacturing operations at the company's Princeton facility at the end of July, according to a company press release
According to the information provided by Orion's Human Resources Director Phyllis Bailey, the positions of 76 direct and indirect employees at the Princeton facility will be terminated as a result of the decision.
The company currently employees 113 workers at the Princeton facility., according to the Gibson County Chamber of Commerce.
Declining demand for cathode-ray tubes (CRT) used in television monitors manufactured at Orion's Princeton facility is the main reason behind the decision to cease manufacturing in Princeton, Bailey said.
“The CRT industry is rapidly shrinking and the demand for the CRT type of televisions that we are assembling is declining dramatically,” Bailey wrote in the release.
“After exhausting all efforts in several other directions without any success, management of Orion America was forced to make a very important and painful decision regarding our future at OA.”
“Orion America will continue operations at the Princeton facility. It is headquarters for Orion America and will remain so in the future with the sales, customer service and related departments still in operation at this location.”
The industry's trend away from CRTs and toward digital television monitors has already forced several U.S. companies to cease operations and one company has even filed for bankruptcy, Bailey said.
Orion Electric Co. Ltd., the parent company of Orion America, is based in Japan and has factories in China, Thailand, the United Kingdom and the United States. The company was founded in 1958.
According to the company's Web site, Orion has 11,000 employees worldwide.
Orion's Princeton factory was established in November 1986 and produces large screen televisions and combination sets. At one time, about 250 employees worked at the Princeton plant, according to the company Web site.
A second Orion America facility established in 2001 operates in Olney, Ill. and supports the Princeton plant, but it was not immediately revealed if cuts would also affect operations there.
Princeton Salvation Army Capt. David Minks said several employees have been laid off from Orion in recent months and have already sought aid from the organization.
Minks said he expects the need for food and utility assistance will rise now that the manufacturing department will be cut.
“We're asking for donations to meet this additional demand for assistance for the families of those who have been dismissed,” he said .
Emotional counseling will also be available for those who have lost their jobs, Minks added.
Princeton Mayor Bob Hurst said the city will contact U.S. Sen. Richard Lugar's office in an effort to reduce tariffs charged by foreign governments, which Hurst said are having a negative impact on Orion's business.
“We hate to lose someone in the community, but we are going to try and attract new companies,” said Hurst.