Cold snap forces Piper to shut down until weather warms

VERO BEACH — The cold snap of 2010 has forced Piper Aircraft to send about 450 manufacturing employees home until the their unheated buildings can stay above 50 degrees.The closure will last through Friday and possibly until next week as another bout of frigid air is supposed to hit the region over the weekend. Employees must use vacation days to cover the lost hours. “Some of our most climate sensitive operations require a minimum of 50 degrees to operate with 60-plus being optimal,” Piper spokesman Mark Miller said. “We have recorded temperatures inside our unheated buildings in the low 40s (Wednesday) morning and again today.”The stoppage dealt only with workers in unheated buildings, all other employees reported to work as usual. The plant should be back to full force by early next week.

“We are monitoring the weather through (Friday) and looking at the forecast over the weekend in order to make the decision as to when to start back up normal production operations,” Miller said. “We anticipate that to be next Monday or Tuesday at the latest based on current conditions and forecasts.”

The shutdown is expected to be in addition to the one-week-a-month furloughs the company has instituted until there is an increase in orders for planes.

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