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Woodward lays off 425 workers from Loves Park plants

By Jim Hagerty

LOVES PARK, Ill. – Woodward, Inc. has laid off 425 workers from both of its manufacturing plants in Loves Park, the company announced Thursday, April 9.

The company announced Wednesday that it was planning to lay off a significant amount of people amid the coronavirus pandemic. That announcement came after Woodward reported that a merger with Stamford, Connecticut-based Hexcel Corp. was being put on hold because of the virus outbreak.

“Given the uncertainty in the market because of the ongoing health crisis, pursuing the merger would not be prudent,” Woodward CEO Tom Gendron and president of Hexcel CEO Nick Stanage said in a joint statement. “Although we are disappointed with this outcome, we are confident this is the right decision for our customers, our shareholders, and our employees as it allows each of us to dedicate our focus and resources toward ensuring Woodward and Hexcel each remain strong and closely connected with our customers and supply chains during these unparalleled times.”

The CEOs said they are hopeful that their companies will find opportunities to collaborate on next-generation platforms in the future.

As for Woodward on the local front, laid off worker were offered three-month severance packages with full benefits. Those retained by the aircraft control-system manufacturer are either staying in their current positions or moving between its plants at 5001 N. Second St. and 5257 Harlem Road.

According to a statement released by Woodward Thursday afternoon, some workers will be temporarily furloughed the company pauses some of their business lines, departments, and portions of its facilities because of the current public health emergency

“We hope to return our furloughed members back to work as soon as possible,” the statement says. “We hope this could be a matter of two months, but we cannot guaranty a time period based on the information that we currently possess. We do not know how long the COVID-19 pandemic will last, and we do not know how long the precipitous economic downturn in our aerospace markets will last.”

Before Thursday’s announcement, Woodward employed more than 2,000 people locally.

This story has been updated.

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