New Job Cuts at Pelco by Schneider Electric Paint Grim Future

By Lemor Abrams

CLOVIS, Calif. (KMPH) -- The Clovis-based company known for churning out surveillance equipment is scaling back yet again. Pelco by Schneider Electric is announcing a new round of layoffs.

Spokeswoman Heather Calandra didn't want to say exactly how many positions were cut, but she confirmed volunteer layoffs have gone into effect. Workers were given a 60-day notice period and a severance package.

Fong Yang was one of them.

"Maybe the grass is greener out there," he said.

After an 11-year career assembling cameras at the company, Yang said he volunteered to give up his job.

"This was bound to happen," he said.

Other employees said the company cut at least a hundred positions.

They say Pelco started a downward spiral in 2007, when it was purchased by French company Schneider Electric.

Fresno City College economics professor Henry Nishimoto calls the cuts a "punch to the midsection." He says the changes at Schneider Electric will have a ripple effect on the local economy.

Fresno County's 16% unemployment rate is almost double the national average.

Yang hopes he'll find work soon.

"It's going to be a challenge, but leaving here, I feel good about going. There's nothing bad about it," he said.

Other workers weren't feeling as optimistic when they left work Thursday. Some anticipate more changes ahead.