Cardinal Lays off Workers Two Weeks After Obama Praises the Firm's Hiring

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Two weeks ago, then President-elect Obama visited Cardinal Fastener and Specialty Company in Bedford Heights, which makes parts for the fast-growing wind turbine industry. The trip was part of his push to sell his economic stimulus plan. As he addressed the crowd on the factory floor, he praised the firm as a model of job creation in a tough economy.

OBAMA: Cardinal hired two workers this week. With all the bad news going out there, with all the word of jobs being lost and businesses shuttered, jobs were created right here.

But now the bad economy has caught up to Cardinal Fastener. Eight workers were given pinkslips this week, after sales dropped off. Cardinal President John Grabner says the company is living another common refrain from the president.

GRABNER: To quote the president—the President-elect when he was here, and the president when he was giving his inauguration speech, ‘It’s going to get worse before it gets better,’ and you know that’s the reality of life.

While Cardinal Fastener has quickly become a top supplier to wind turbine-makers, Grabner says 80 percent of the company’s customers are still traditional manufactuers like John Deere and Caterpillar, which have laid off hundreds of their own workers recently as demand for machinery has plummeted.

It’s not all bad news, though, for Cardinal. Grabner says he’s hiring an engineer this week for its wind products division, and hopes new business will allow him to hire as many as 40 new staffers by the end of the year.

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