Graphic Packaging International issued a Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification announcement to the state of Michigan advising that it will permanently close a facility in the city of Wyoming, affecting 111 jobs. It also filed a notice with the state of Massachusetts indicating that it will close a facility there and 71 people will be laid off.
The packaging company’s website indicates the Wyoming site is a converting facility, and a company spokesperson told local news station FOX 17 that the plant produces products such as folding cartons.
The Michigan WARN letter, dated Jan. 10, suggests the first layoffs should occur around March 11, and plant operations will cease around March 31, but exact dates will depend on numerous business factors. GPI said it has notified the union representing hourly production workers, which is the Printing Packaging & Production Workers Union of North America, Local 555-S District Council 3. Non-union employees do not have bumping rights.
The layoffs at the Lowell, Massachusetts, facility are estimated to occur between March 12 and March 26, according to the WARN notice received by the state last week.
GPI also announced this month that it will close a paperboard converting facility in Charlotte, North Carolina, which will affect 112 jobs. A spokesperson said that closure should be completed by late Q2.
“After assessing the company's overall packaging portfolio, the most viable outcome was to consolidate these plants' production into our broader network of plants,” a GPI spokesperson said via email on Thursday about the Charlotte, Grand Rapids (Wyoming) and Lowell closures.
Graphic Packaging is providing outplacement services to affected employees and encourages those who are interested and qualified to apply for other positions within the company. GPI has “operational plans to ensure there is no supply disruption to our customers,” the spokesperson said.
In the fall, the company permanently decommissioned a coated recycled paperboard machine at its mill in Kalamazoo, Michigan, which had undergone a $600 million expansion with the addition of a new paper machine the prior year. The Kalamazoo plant is about 50 miles away from the Wyoming facility that is set to close.
Graphic Packaging International reported its most recent earnings on Oct. 31, showing a 4.2% year-over-year decrease in net sales. CEO Michael Doss said on that earnings call that recovery will take time following the low demand experienced across the industry for more than a year. The Atlanta-based company’s next earnings release, covering results from Q4 and the full year 2023, will be on Feb. 21.
Editor’s note: This story has been updated with information from a statement from Graphic Packaging International.