After 30 years in the Oscar statue-making business, R.S. Owens is laying off 95 of its 250-person employee base.The Chicago-based company’s major round of layoffs will take place on Dec. 17, when the St. Regis Crystal Inc. buy-out of the company for an unknown amount takes place.
Most of the laid-off workers are applying for positions at St. Regis, but not all will be rehired.
R.S. Owens not only produces Oscar and Emmy statues, but also the awards for the MTV Video Music Awards, “American Idol,” and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, according to The Wrap.
Despite the company’s new owner, the statues will still be made in its Illinois plant, but other processes in the company will be shifted to St. Regis’ Indianapolis offices. The Owens name will continue to be used for all Chicago products.
R.S. Owens president Scott Siegal says his company has been in trouble for the past few years, citing America’s struggling economy and the competition from Chinese companies with lower production costs as contributing factors.
He also said high labour costs have been an issue.
“Just on the statuette, there’s over an hour of polishing, and on the base there’s probably 45 minutes of polishing,” Siegal says, according to The Huffington Post.
This very reason, while being a problem for Siegal, was a major attraction point for St. Regis president Richard Firsker.
“It’s really the workmanship of the artisans in Chicago that make it happen,” Firsker said. “Unfortunately, it doesn’t make economic sense to hire back each and every employee.”
R.S. Owens regularly makes about 50 statues, which are made of brittanium metal and coated in gold, for the Oscars every year.