Cardinal Tempered Glass laid off 33 employees Monday at their plant and off-site warehouse in Chehalis. Just over a hundred employees remain at the plant that fabricates solar panels.
Mark Reidy, the plant manager in Chehalis, said Cardinal had to lay off the employees because the Chinese are dumping solar panels into the U.S. market at a low price.
“U.S. manufacturers are paying the price for it,” he said.
Reidy said they will continue to pay the price until the Department of Commerce imposes higher tariffs on foreign companies.
“As a result our customers order less so we manufacture less,” he said.
Cardinal TG used to take about 60 loads a week from Winlock to Chehalis but they are now down to 20. In May, Reidy said, they expect to take 40 loads a week but will not rehire any employees.
Cardinal TG had to take two shifts off their manufacturing line at the Chehalis plant.
Because the Cardinal plant in Winlock takes raw materials and turns them into glass, that plant must run 24 hours a day. The Chehalis plant, however, tempers the glass from Winlock so those furnaces can be shut down.
Reidy said he did not know exactly how the situation would affect the Winlock plant but expects it to reduce future orders.
The Winlock plant currently employs 214 people.
“The nature of our business is different than Chehalis so we don’t anticipate any layoffs,” said Steve Smith, the plant manager in Winlock.
Cardinal TG will pay the laid-off employees for the remainder of their shifts for this week and unused vacation.
“It’s unfortunate but hopefully things will turn around,” Smith said.
In the meantime, the company said they will not protest unemployment claims.
Amy Nile: (360) 807-8235