Auto parts plant temporarily lays off 336


GREENFIELD — The COVID-19 pandemic is forcing BWI Group’s new plant in Greenfield to temporarily close, the company told the state on Thursday.

Crystal Kottlowski, human resources representative for BWI in Greenfield, told the Indiana Department of Workforce Development in a notice that a temporary shutdown of operations is due to a recent state executive order and business circumstances related to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb issued an executive order on Monday, March 23, calling for many workplaces to close to slow the spread of COVID-19.

Kottlowski wrote a total of 336 employees are affected at the plant, located at 989 Opportunity Parkway — 172 permanent BWI employees and 164 temporary employees from First Call and Morales Staffing agencies.

“We hope to recall employees once our customers resume manufacturing operations,” Kottlowski wrote, adding BWI Group is non-union, no severance pay was provided and employees were notified how to file for unemployment benefits.

She wrote insurance benefits will continue to be paid on workers’ behalf during the temporary shutdown and that the company will recoup their portion of the premiums over a period of time when they return to work.

Kottlowski also wrote workers’ last day was March 24 and that they’ll be recalled as the production lines they work on are restarted.

Ford Motor Company, a customer of the plant, is tentatively scheduled to restart operations on April 7, Kottlowski wrote.

BWI Group, also known as BeijingWest Industries, celebrated the grand opening of its first U.S. production facility in Greenfield last July. The more-than $80 million, 276,000-square foot facility started out making shock absorbers with plans to make other suspension systems in the future.