© TC MEDIA/Colin MacLean
Wiebel Aerospace in the Summerside Industrial Park.
Former employees at troubled Summerside company Wiebel Aerospace holding out hope of being rehired
Wiebel Aerospace, located on Greenwood Drive inSummerside, closed its doors on Nov. 13, putting the remaining staff, between 12 and 15 people, out of work. At its peak, Wiebel employed more than 50 people creating custom machine parts for various industries.
The company’s closure is not well known in the community because the now former staff remain hopeful someone will purchase the business and reopen it, allowing them to go back to work. They fear that by talking publically about the closure they won’t be considered for rehiring.
Wiebel set up in Summerside in the late 1990s and was one of the first companies attracted to the aerospace hub set up in the wake of the closure of CFB Summerside, now Slemon Park.
Sources told the Journal Pioneer that work at Wiebel had been waning over the past year to the point where, by the end, employees were on a work sharing program.
Work-sharing is a federal program administered by Service Canada where a company’s staff work for part of the week, but receive employment insurance to top up their pay for the rest of the week. It’s a system designed to help struggling companies avoid eliminating jobs altogether.
Wiebel and its sister company Testori America, which is based in Slemon Park, were both purchased by TMC Avion Inc. in 2011. Almost immediately after the sale TMC Avion became involved in several lawsuits and countersuits related to the sale.
TMC Avion was granted creditor protection in January of 2014 after P.E.I. Westside Funding called in the company’s debt.
P.E.I. Westside Funding bought $12.1 million of TMC Avion’s outstanding loans from the P.E.I. government for $5 million in 2013.
The Journal Pioneer has been unable to reach TMC Avion’s representatives for comment on the closure.