Toolmaker fires 11 of its workers


J.L. Wickham Co., a machine tool maker, has terminated 11 workers at its East Baltimore plant on Belair Road. The cuts will reduce the company's work force from 95 to 84, according to Jack Wickham, president.

Wickham said the terminations, which were effective Friday, result from the need to balance work flow. "It doesn't have to do with money at all," he said. "It has to do with the distribution of work." The company recently finished some medium-size contracts and has begun work on a large contract to make diesel engine parts for a Midwestern company that Wickham declined to identify. "Actually, we are doing quite well," he said.

Various types of workers were let go, Wickham said. Most of the company's employees are skilled workers such as engineers and draftsmen, he said.

Wickham declined to say what severance benefits the 11 terminated workers may have received.

Wickham said the company does not have any plans to hire in "the short, immediate future," but that there should be no further terminations. "This has put us in balance," he said.

Wickham was named the entrepreneur of the year last year by the Maryland Department of Economic and Employment Development and Maryland Economic Growth Associates Inc. The company designs, manufactures and sells high-technology manufacturing machines.

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