ALBION — One of Noble County’s largest employers announced last week it is idling 450 workers in the Hoosier state.

Busche Performance Group, now owned by a private equity firm and headquartered in Michigan, announced March 26 it would be temporarily laying off 450 workers from its plants in Albion, Avilla and Franklin.

In a memo on company letterhead signed by human resources manager Kayla Brown, the temporary layoffs were blamed on “the Ohio State Executive Order and business circumstances related to the COVID-19 pandemic.”

A question relayed to the company regarding how the executive order issued in Ohio played into the decision was not returned by press time.

“We hope to recall employees once our customers resume manufacturing operations,” the memo said. “No severance pay was provided. Insurance benefits will continue to be paid on their behalf during this temporary shutdown for up to four weeks. We will recoup their portion of the premiums over a period of time when they return to work. Employees are not able to utilize their available vacation time.”

The company provided laid off employees with instructions on how to file for unemployment benefits.

Albion Town Council President Vickie Jellison expressed her concern for those who have been laid off.

“This announcement is sad news for the Busche Performance Group family and our entire community,” Jellison said. “We understand what a difficult decision it was. During this time of great uncertainty, the health and well being of their employees needed to be first and foremost. It is our hope that these employees will return to work as soon as circumstances allow.

“In the meantime we encourage people to follow the guidelines as imposed by our local, state and federal government. Our people are our greatest asset and we must do our best to protect them during this pandemic.”

During a phone call Thursday, U.S. Sen. Todd Young, R-Ind., said the company would be eligible for consideration for an aid package provided by the federal government for businesses with more than 500 employees in total.

The purpose of the $500 billion portion of the relief package passed last week is to make companies “whole” who have been affected by the coronavirus.

Any relief gained by Busche Performance Group, should it decide to pursue federal loan monies, would be tied directly into those employees being laid off being rehired, according to Young.

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