Federal-Mogul laying off 200 as it pulls out of SC

About 200 Orangeburg-area workers will lose their jobs over the next two years as Federal-Mogul closes its brake-pad facility there, shuttering the last of its S.C. operations.

Plant officials began notifying employees Monday the plant – which works around the clock with three shifts – will be closed and its work moved to larger facilities in Smithville, Tenn., and Tepotzotlan, Mexico, spokesman Jim Burke said.

“We have excess capacity within the company,” he said. “We have the ability to absorb the Orangeburg operations at two other facilities that are much larger.”

Staffing at those facilities is not expected to change, Burke said.

The brake-pad market has been hit by a double-whammy over the past few years, he said. Manufacturers in other countries, including China and India, have been exporting their cheaper products to the United States at a time when consumers are pinching pennies following the worst recession in a lifetime.

“People are more conscious to the price that they are paying,” Burke said.

The Michigan-based company will begin moving work to the larger facilities within the next couple of months, Burke said. Layoffs will be staggered, based on customers’ yet-to-be-determined schedules.

About 160 full-time Federal-Mogul employees will lose their jobs over the next two years, as well as about 40 contractors and temporary workers, Burke said.

The company has been in the community since 1998, when it acquired an existing brake manufacturer. Four years ago, Federal-Mogul shuttered its other S.C. plant – in Summerton – laying off 350 workers.