MEADVILLE – A Meadville company riding high on the Marcellus Shale oil and gas boom in spring 2014 has laid off some local employees.
Universal Well Services Inc. has closed its district service facility at 159 Northwood Drive and furloughed the people who worked there, according to a brief statement by John Brautigam, attorney for the company. The statement is the company’s only comment on the layoffs, Brautigam said.
The statement does not say how many workers are affected by the closing, but the number is less than 50. The Pennsylvania Department of Labor & Industry has not been notified of a large-scale layoff, department spokeswoman Lindsay Bracale said. Employers must notify the state if they close a facility and that closing results in the loss of 50 or more jobs. Employers are also required to report mass layoffs of more than 500 employees, or 50-499 employees if that number is 33 percent or more of the company workforce.
Universal Well Services’ Northwood Drive facility served conventional gas wells in the region rather than hydrofracking operations in the Marcellus Shale. Its closing and the resulting layoffs were caused by reduced demand for services, Brautigam said.
Universal Well Services does 90 percent of its business on the Marcellus Shale, company President Roger Willis said this past spring.
The company continues to staff and operate its other Meadville facilities, including a training center, offices and maintenance garage in the Crawford Business Park, said Mark Turner, executive director of the Economic Progress Alliance of Crawford County. The organization owns and manages the business park.
“For these types of industry, long-term survival depends on their ability to respond quickly like this when the bottom drops out of something,” Turner said. “It’s an awful thing for the people involved in layoffs but may bode well for the company’s prospects long-term.”
Universal Well Services in May employed 1,000 people at 12 locations in four states, with a $50 million payroll in Pennsylvania, Willis said then. The company is the 25th largest employer in Crawford County.
This article was written by Valerie Myers from Erie Times-News, Pa. and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.