BNL and Luxfer Magtech have major layoffs in Riverhead area

Brookhaven National Laboratory and Luxfer Magtech will both be restructuring and downsizing within the next few months.

Luxfer Magtech, at 680 Elton St. in Riverhead, will close its manufacturing plant and move work out of state, according to investor relations director Dan Stracner. It will shut down permanently Feb. 28, laying off 60 employees.

This is the only New York facility operated under Luxfer Holdings PLC, an international company based in Salford, England. The company has four other locations in the United States, including a facility just purchased in Saxonburg, Pa.

The Riverhead plant makes magnesium-based heating pads that are used to heat Meals Ready-to-Eat (MREs) for the U.S. military. They are also used in emergencies.

Work done at the Riverhead location will be shifted to other facilities, but specific locations have not been confirmed. Mr. Stracner also said that some employees may relocate to wherever operations are moved to.

“There is a possibility that some employees may relocate,” Mr. Stracner said. “At this point we’re not ready to announce exactly where operations are going to go because it could go to more than one of our other plants.”

Luxfer Group purchased the Riverhead facility from its former owner, Truetech Inc., in 2014, along with its Cincinnati, Ohio, location, for about $64 million, according to a company release.

The federal Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act requires companies with at least 50 employees to give at least 90 days’ notice before closing a plant. The company filed a WARN notice on Nov. 22, citing the reason for closure as “economic,” but declined to comment any further.

Brookhaven National Laboratory is moving forward with restructuring plans it originally announced in August.

BNL, an Upton-based research institution funded mostly by the Department of Energy’s Office of Science, is the nation’s largest supporter of basic research in the physical sciences. Almost 3,000 scientists, engineers and support staff work there.

The lab recently completed a round of voluntary reductions during which 74 lab employees applied and 63 were approved to voluntarily leave the lab and receive a severance package, officials said.

“Since this voluntary reduction in force alone did not generate the savings needed for planned strategic reinvestment, the Lab has begun implementing the next stage of its workforce restructuring plan through an involuntary separation program that will impact 53 staff, primarily in support areas,” BNL spokesperson Peter Genzer said in a statement.

Affected staff have already been informed and will leave the lab by Dec. 14. BNL officials said these support staff will also get a severance package and career transition assistance.

“This staff reduction is intended to reduce the Laboratory’s costs and redirect funding toward growth areas,” Mr. Genzer said. “It will ensure that the Laboratory’s investment funds are fully aligned with the highest priority elements of strategy through our strategic planning process, and that mission needs and risk management are being appropriately addressed. “

This staff restructuring is not related to the 2018 Fiscal Year budget.

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Photo caption: Luxfer Magtech, located at 680 Elton St. in Riverhead, will close its manufacturing plant and move work out of state. (Credit: Rachel Siford)