Nearly 150 Workers To Be Laid Off As Skokie Foundry Shutters

Issued at 2019-12-16

The Castwell Products iron foundry, across the street from Niles West High School, announced its plans to close after 113 years.

SKOKIE, IL — A 113-year-old iron foundry announced it plans to permanently close its and lay off nearly 150 workers early next year.

Castwell Products, located across from Niles West High School at 7800 N. Austin Ave. for more than seven decades, first notified the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity of the layoffs last month.

"For the last year Castwell Products, LLC has experienced financial difficulties due to economic changes within our industry," according to a statement provided by Michael Goodall, the company's human resources manager.

"In the past years we have taken steps necessary to adapt to this new market with our product and process. Unfortunately, this action has not increased profitability," it said. "With deep regret we have begun winding down our business. "

Castwell was founded in 1906 and opened its Skokie facility in 1946, according to Goodall. Previously, it had operated in Chicago under Wells Manufacturing Company. He said the layoffs include 30 salaried employees and 120 hourly workers.

"Workers will be laid off in stages beginning February 2020 with an anticipated final closure during the 2nd quarter of 2020," the company's statement said. "We are committed to doing all we can to provide the affected employees with resources and support."

Castwell has more than 180 customers across multiple countries and produces more than 35 million pieces a year, according to its website.

The Illinois Worker Adjustment and Retraining, or WARN, Act requires employers provide 60 days of advance notice ahead of plant closures or mass layoffs that affect 75 or more full-time employees.

According to its filing, 149 workers will be laid off between Jan. 25 and Feb. 8, 2020. None of the workers are unionized, it said.

The jobs eliminated at Castwell were among more than 1,000 cut in Illinois during the month of November, according to the commerce department.