Olyphant Residents Fear Technicolor Plant Will Close

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OLYPHANT -- A manufacturing plant that was once Lackawanna County's largest employer has an uncertain future. By this summer, almost 100 workers at Technicolor, formerly known as Specialty Records, will lose their jobs.

First, it was Specialty Records, then WEA Manufacturing, then Cinram, now Technicolor.

The plant in Olyphant made everything from vinyl records to DVDs.

The most recent layoffs have people in Olyphant questioning the plant's future because, according to the mayor, the layoffs include only full-time, permanent employees.

Technicolor is a French company, but the plant's history is homegrown in Olyphant. It started as Specialty Records in another part of the borough.

Makers of all things music and entertainment, Newswatch 16 was last inside in 2000. The place was called WEA Manufacturing then and got a shot in the arm with the advent of DVDs.

The plant employed more than 1,000 people and was one of the largest employers in Lackawanna County.

Now, according to Olyphant's mayor, only about 400 workers fill the whole plant, and 96 of them are expected to lose their jobs between March and July.

"I worked at Specialty Records for 16 years as a supervisor on second shift in cassettes. That place was one of the top places to work at the time," recalled Michael Kiehart.

Kiehart was laid off from the plant back in 1991. Recent layoffs have affected some of his business; he now owns a smoke shop nearby.

The mayor says the company told him that the jobs lost are permanent, full-time positions, leading many to believe that Technicolor may soon close.

"It employed a lot of people and a lot of people loved the job and supported their families for many, many years. Now, I don't know what it's going to do. It's going to take a big blow in the area for all the businesses here," said Kiehart.

Technicolor has not responded to our requests for comment. The mayor and former Technicolor employees say the growth of video streaming is what has affected the business.


  • former employee

    Although it is somewhat true that over the years there has been a decline in demand for CD’s and DVD’s. The real reason for the layoffs is Technicolor’s main manufacturing plant is in Mexico. Back in 2010, there was a major layoff at the plant of over 800 people. This was due to Technicolor taking the major DVD contract to Mexico, now they own the same plant they took the contract from. They have been moving machinery and production to their Mexico facility and that is the reason for the layoffs and the eventual closing of the plant, which most people who still work there feel it will be later this year. The little work remaining in the plant cannot sustain it anymore.

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