The Group doles out pink slips |

The Group doles out pink slips

The company locally known as the Grass Valley Group laid off “less than 10 percent of the Nevada City workforce” Thursday, according to Vice President for Global Operations Dave Perillo.

That means fewer than 30 of the 300 employees at the Nevada City campus lost their jobs, Perillo said. He said he could not provide a specific number.

“It’s a very difficult day for us,” Perillo said. “We want to be sensitive to our employees. At present, there are no plans to leave Nevada City.”

The layoffs follow Wednesday’s announcement that the Group’s parent company, Technicolor, will reduce the division’s estimated 2,500-strong workforce by 25 percent, or 625 jobs. Many of those layoffs happened in the company’s European operations.

Technicolor announced the layoffs because of a 31 percent decline in orders for Grass Valley brand broadcast equipment. The decline was due to plunging advertising sales in the broadcast industry and subsequent tighter budgets, according to a Technicolor press release.

The Grass Valley brand name is well-known in the broadcast industry for its unique products and ground-breaking technology. The Grass Valley Group started on Grass Valley’s Litton Hill 50 years ago, when Dr. Donald Hare began designing sound equipment.

The company switched to video equipment several years later and moved just outside of Grass Valley to a campus on Bitney Springs Road. The Grass Valley division holds at least 400 patents and has earned more than 20 Emmy awards.

The company was purchased by Paris-based media giant Thomson in 2002. Earlier this year, shareholders approved a restructuring plan and changed the name of the company to Technicolor, an already-well-established brand that it also owned.

The company reported that it was meeting with its labor union representatives in Europe and that the reorganization plan will be rolled out to all employees this week.

The Grass Valley division has been on the market since February 2009 and had losses of $117 million in that year.

“Technicolor is still in active discussions with interested buyers,” Perillo said.

The Grass Valley division is a large contributor to Nevada City’s sales taxes, and its jobs are critical to a Nevada County economy that already is facing a 12 percent unemployment rate.

To contact Senior Staff Writer Dave Moller, e-mail, or call 477-4237.

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