Numerous packaging companies in November disclosed facility closures and layoffs in light of demand issues or efforts to consolidate or optimize their manufacturing footprints.
- Ardagh Metal Packaging is permanently closing its plant in Whitehouse, Ohio, according to a Nov. 28 notice to the state. The closure, effective on or about Jan. 31, will result in 105 layoffs. Some of those employees are represented by United Steelworkers Local 8316, the company said, and bumping rights do not exist among or between plants. This follows an Oct. 26 announcement from the company that it had notified employees and union representatives about plans to potentially close the plant. Jens Irion, CEO for North America, said in October it was a matter of balancing capacity and demand, and the company was “exploring ways to strengthen our regional manufacturing efficiencies.” Ardagh has made cans at this facility since 2016.
- Ball reported in a Nov. 1 worker adjustment and retraining notification to the state of Virginia, and during its Q3 earnings call, that it decided to close an aluminum slug manufacturing facility in Verona after a fire broke out in September that damaged nearly all the plant’s equipment. The closure affects 73 employees. Ball also announced on the earnings call that it planned to close a leased aluminum beverage can manufacturing facility in Kent, Washington, in the first half of 2024 that employs 126 people.
- Hood Packaging is closing a site in Hazle Township, Pennsylvania, effective Jan. 14, with 58 workers affected, according to a notice to the state this month.
- Silgan Dispensing is closing a plant in Winfield, Kansas, and laying off 169 workers, local news station KSNW reported Nov. 28. According to a notice reprinted by KSNW, layoffs are expected to begin Jan. 27 and be completed by March 1. Some employees may be offered jobs at a Grandview, Missouri, facility. The notice cites “consolidation and transfer of customer volumes from this facility to other manufacturing locations.”
- TC Transcontinental Packaging is permanently closing a plant in Tomah, Wisconsin, per a Nov. 16 notice to the state. Beginning Jan. 15, about 90 employees will be affected. Unionized employees have bumping rights that employees “may be able to exercise.” Non-union employees will not have bumping rights.
- Metsä Board, a Finnish paperboard producer, said Oct. 26 it would initiate “change negotiations” involving approximately 1,100 employees regarding possible temporary layoffs that would last up to 90 days at certain mills in Finland. Those negotiations finished this week. “Metsä Board is preparing for a possible continuation of the adjustment of production to match the low delivery volumes, if the demand situation for paperboards does not improve in 2024,” the company said in the announcement. The company said in a Nov. 28 update: “Change negotiations have now been completed and possible layoffs will be decided separately. The reason for the layoffs is to adjust production to meet the low delivery volumes.”
- Origin Materials, a “carbon negative materials” company, this month laid off approximately 30% of its workforce, or about 60 positions. The company said in an announcement that the layoffs were part of an “organizational realignment” to streamline operations. The company said it was “implementing a rigorous cash conservation program.”
- Smurfit Kappa planned to close a containerboard mill in Le Pontet, France, EUWID Pulp & Paper reported this month. According to the report, the company said that Smurfit Kappa Recyclé France offered union representatives a restructuring plan.
- Paper Excellence Canada is extending the curtailment of paper operations at the Catalyst Crofton facility through February due to “challenging market conditions which have not recovered as anticipated.” As a result, about 70 employees will not return to work in December, the company announced Nov. 23. “The mill’s pulp operations, which supports approximately 400 union and salaried staff employees will continue production during the extended paper curtailment,” the company reported. This follows an announcement of temporary layoffs there in September 2022 and an indefinite curtailment announcement in October 2022.
- In January this year, Paper Excellence Canada announced $50 million to upgrade the Crofton mill’s paper operations and plans to restart a paper machine that would put more than 100 employees back to making paper there. In September, the company announced the restart of pulp operations, but said paper operations would continue to be curtailed through October. An Oct. 20 update then extended curtailment through November. The national president of Unifor, a union whose Local 1132 represents 91 workers at the mill, said in light of the latest update: “Workers and the community deserve answers from the company about why they are failing to meet established timelines. We also want answers from the provincial and federal government as to why we are saddled with curtailment after curtailment.”