The 84-year old company said as early as 2017 that it had to shut down because of financial issues. It repaid the equity firm that bought it $3.8M in 2018, but none of the workers got severance pay.
The company did reach a settlement to pay off hundreds of thousands of dollars it owed to workers' health and pension funds.
The land is zoned for manufacturing and the city wants to hear ideas about how to convert it from heavy industrial use. That will also make it easier to sell.
The closure of the city's last big "smokestack" factory means the end of well-paid union jobs. But it also means neighbors will no longer be bothered by a 'burnt pot handle' smell.
Business has picked up at the 83-year-old company, one of Berkeley's last remaining heavy industrial plants.
The union representing the workers at Pacific Steel Casting, which is closing after 83 years in business, says the company is late on pension and health payments.
The company has been operating in West Berkeley since 1934 and once employed more than 400 people.
The facility emits "tens of tons of harmful air pollutants each year, including sulphur oxide, nitrogen oxide, carbon monoxide, and particulate matter, commonly known as soot."
Residents have long been concerned about odors and other pollutants emanating from Pacific Steel Casting on Second Street, lodging hundreds of complaints with local and regional bodies.
Pacific Steel Castings, based in west Berkeley since 1934, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in Oakland on Monday. Pacific Steel, one of the largest independent steel casting companies in the U.S., has 410 employees in three separate plants at the eight-acre site off Gilman Street. There are no immediate layoffs or interruptions in payment of wages or pensions.
On a bright, sunny day, hundreds of protesters gathered in front of Berkeley’s Old City Hall to rally against the immigration laws that prompted the firing of 200 Pacific Steel Casting workers in December last year. Many of the fired workers and their families were joined by members of the teachers’ union, the nurses’ union, clergymen and women and other sympathizers. Following the rally, protesters were to march to the Pacific Steel site in west Berkeley.