MTD closing Valley City, Ohio, molding plant

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VALLEY CITY, OHIO (Feb. 22, 4:40 p.m. ET) — Following deliberations that met an impasse, management for an injection molding plant in Valley City has decided to relocate the operation to cut costs.

“They wanted us to take out $3.2 million in costs every year,” said Mark Milko, area director for Local 1820 of the Workers United union. Owners and workers at Industrial Plastics Co. concluded negotiations the week ended Feb. 19when they could not reach an agreement.

Industrial Plastics employs about 140 molding parts for parent company outdoor appliance firm MTD Products Inc., also based in Valley City.

Milko said the molding work will move to MTD facilities in Leitchfield, Ky., and Tupelo, Miss., close to MTD plants that assemble appliances like lawnmowers and snowblowers. Neither Leitchfield nor Tupello is unionized. Valley City’s work will move by the end of the year.

Valley City employees have a three-year labor agreement signed in June, but the agreement did not prevent management from moving the plant to save costs.

MTD director of organizational development Kristee Mahler said Leitchfield has enough space to take up Valley City’s production and the move will eliminate overhead from Valley City

Valley City is one of several custom injection molding plants supplying MTD, a private company. MTD’s headquarters staff of about 500 in Valley City will not be affected by the move.

Mahler could not provide equipment details for Valley City but she said the operation is organized along manufacturing cells.

Milko lamented the plant closure so soon after a labor agreement was reached last summer.

“People bought cars and paid on their houses because they thought things were secure for three years,” Milko said in a telephone interview. He blamed globalization for the frequency of plant closures.