The Colorado Springs Gazette reported last week that tool maker Western Forge (Based in Colorado Springs, CO) plans lay off 150 workers (roughly half it’s workforce) in 3 phases between November 1 and April 1, according the WARN Notice filled September 2. Though some older workers will be offered voluntary severance packages, lay-off’s still appear to be substantial.
“Following a thorough assessment of market conditions, product demands and our capacity we have determined that it is unfortunately necessary to reduce the workforce at the company’s Colorado Springs location,” according to Western Forge’s letter, written by human resources manager John Quarles
“A final decision on whether layoffs will take place hasn’t been made, human resources manager John Quarles said Tuesday. The number of potential layoffs, a timetable for deciding the final count and the types of jobs that could be eliminated all are being determined, he added. Still, Quarles said, “there’s a strong possibility there will be layoffs.”
By now you’re thinking you know Wester Forge but you can’t recall from where. Western Forge is a quality American maker of pliers, screwdrivers, punches, chisels, gear pullers, adjustable wrenches, torque wrenches, and other products who is (at least for the moment) a major supplier to Sears for their Craftsman line and has been for many years. Since 2010 WF has been owned by Ideal industries (who also owns SK Tools) and as far as I know, they are the last company still making adjustable wrenches in America,
The question now is what to make of all this. The press release from WF doesn’t mention Sears at all, nor would we expect it to, but while WF does plenty of contract production for brands other than Sears, Craftsman is easily the most identifiable and it seems unfathomable the situation isn’t somehow related. While it may be speculative at this point, if you want any WF stamped Craftsman stuff, you’d better get it now.
Here’s a sampling of the tools you might consider picking up now. The potential impact extends beyond Craftsman to companies such as Proto, J.H. Williams, SK, and others as well.
It’ll be interesting to see how all this plays out over the next couple of months.