Bertram Yacht eyes layoffs after plant relocation

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Bertram Yacht recently warned Florida state officials of 86 possible layoffs as a result of the company’s relocation from Miami to Merritt Island in Brevard County.

The Miami-based boatbuilder announced the relocation of its manufacturing plant in May.

The company filed a Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Notice with the state on Aug. 21 and it was posted Tuesday on the state’s website, according to the South Florida Business Journal.

The 86 manufacturing industry layoffs are expected to be complete by Oct. 20, but the state is awaiting details about the positions of employees who will be laid off.

“Bertram Yacht does not recognize strict seniority rights, but may take seniority into consideration as a factor in determining which employees to lay off and the time of each employee’s layoff,” human resources director Susan Brothers wrote in a letter to the state on Aug. 21, according to the paper. “However, seniority will be one factor in these decisions, and other factors such as business necessity, expertise and past performance also will be taken into account in making these decisions.”

In an interview with the Business Journal in May, Bertram president Alton Herndon said the company would offer jobs to its entire staff of 125 full-time employees. At the time, he expected between 30 and 50 people to relocate with Bertram to its new home.

The company has set up an employee transition program for those who will not be relocating to the new plant. The program includes a completion bonus equal to four weeks of pay for workers who remain with Bertram until the closing of the Miami plant; South Florida Workforce training sessions, which are to begin the week of Sept. 17; a job fair to be conducted with assistance from South Florida Workforce; and Rosetta Stone English training.

Bertram will relocate to a new plant and create 221 new jobs in Merritt Island.

The announcement comes on the heels of an announcement by parent company Ferretti Group — where a controlling interest was bought in January by Shandong Heavy Industry Group-Weichai Group — that it will open an assembly plant in China to customize superyachts to that clientele.

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