Factory Shutdowns Impact Hundreds of American Workers

Tough market conditions are having an impact on manufacturing plants all across the country. In just the last couple of weeks, multiple factories have been shut down due to limited orders. Bemis Inc. plans to shut down its factory in Stow, OH, and Central Carbide LLC announced the closing of its plant in Pryor, OK. In both cases, lower demand was an important factor.

“Due to market conditions, there just aren’t enough sales coming out of this facility right now,” Central Carbide General Manager Mike Simons said. The company plans to meet obligations to customers and honor current contracts. It does not plan to sell the facility, which was purchased in 2008, but has no plans to reopen it.

The plant in Ohio, which will close in May, actually earned net sales of roughly $45 million last year. But that total represents just under a tenth of the company’s entire sales, which mostly come from packaging. Bemis also plans to sell its paper packaging division, which generated $160 million in 2013.

Perhaps the biggest issues that will come from the shutdowns are job layoffs and the impact on hosting communities. Around 45 workers will be impacted by the closing in Pryor, and 115 in Stow — where the factory has been operating since 1959 — could lose their jobs.

The main focus, at least for Central Carbide, is making sure the closing goes smoothly and helping workers. “We announced the closing early. By doing that, we can give our employees four or five more weeks of work that produces a paycheck,” said Simons. Employees will also be given a severance package.

“As a company, we intend to assist our employees through this transition,” he added. “We have respect for the great amount of integrity represented in our employees. They will be an asset to any company that hires them.”

For businesses and manufacturing facilities new and old, worker safety is always paramount, especially when it comes to producing and working with carbide. The material is brittle in nature, and any shock or impact could cause it to break, shooting off pieces at high velocities. In order to make sure that does not happen and workers are safe, using only high-quality materials and dependable machinery is always wise.

Predicting how the market will change in the coming months is difficult for the manufacturing industry, and even experts have trouble guessing how demand will be different in the future. If things improve and those factories reopen or if those businesses choose to work elsewhere, providing a safe workplace will need to be a priority.


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