California firm to move window production to Vandergrift site
Serious Energy Inc. plans to move production of energy-efficient windows from a Chicago plant that's on track to be closed or sold to its manufacturing plants in Vandergrift and Boulder, Colo.
The move is expected to have little impact on about 60 workers at the former Kensington Windows plant off River Road in Vandergrift, as demand for replacement windows and most other building products remains low.
"There is no change to operations there," Valerie Jenkins, spokeswoman for the Sunnyvale, Calif.-based company, said on Friday, although a few more salespeople are being hired to serve customers out of the Vandergrift plant.
In Chicago, about 46 workers represented by the Electrical Workers union called off a brief sit-in on Thursday after getting word that the plant would close.
"This was a "misunderstanding," Jenkins said, adding that the Chicago plant remains open, and Serious Energy and the union are working together to explore options, including finding a buyer.
The company invested aggressively in the Chicago plant, "but because of economic conditions, the building materials sector was hard-hit, specifically windows," she said.
The sit-in evoked memories of a 2008 incident that made national headlines at the Chicago plant. Workers at what then was Republic Windows and Doors refused to leave after owners gave notice just a few days before Christmas that the plant was closing.
In January 2009, Serious Energy acquired the assets of Kensington Windows, a few months after then-owner Jancor Companies Inc. of Ohio filed for bankruptcy and closed the plant. There were 150 workers prior to the closing.
Serious Energy then installed equipment and gradually hired back some ex-Kensington employees. Production there, with a nonunion workforce, focuses on high-insulating replacement windows for homes, primarily in the Northeast, the Mid-Atlantic region and part of the Southeast.
"It's a phenomenal facility with great customers who have always bought from there," Jenkins said. "The workers are wonderful" with some who have been there for their entire careers, she added, and the plant is becoming more efficient, with production at a high level now as windows are made for summer projects.
Privately owned Serious Energy does not disclose sales or production figures, although it boasts some recent high-profile projects such as replacing more than 6,500 windows in the Empire State Building in 2010 to improve energy efficiency. The company also has a California plant that makes soundproof drywall.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Authorities recover rifle used to kill Westmoreland police officer
- Kane turns to former Maryland attorney general to lead porn email probe
- Chicago mayor fires police chief in wake of video release
- Founder of Z&M Cycle Sales in Hempfield killed in Florida motorcycle crash
- Starkey: Tomlin lived in his fears
- Film session: Long shots dotted Steelers’ passing game
- 2,200 union employees of ATI lose coverage
- Steelers receiver Wheaton takes advantage of opportunity in breakout game
- Slain St. Clair officer walked into ‘worst nightmare’ for police
- Woman gets probation in deadly shooting outside Pittsburgh bar
- Increasing player salaries pinch financial flexibility of Pirates