Suiza Packaging Group decided to close its Lima, Ohio, operation, effective June 30.
Suiza said last month it planned to run the blow molding plant for a year and a half even though one of its competitors, Plastipak Packaging Inc., bought the building. However, it told employees in a Feb. 16 letter it will permanently close the plant this summer. Suiza management could not be reached for comment.
Paul Layman, union representative for the Lima plant, said Suiza has been ``ramping down'' production there and getting lines ready to move to other Suiza locations. Lima lost a major contract to supply Procter & Gamble Co. with large blow-molded bottles to its rival Plastipak.
Plastipak bought the Lima plant for about $3.4 million in December. Officials with the Plymouth, Mich., firm were unavailable to explain plans for the building.
Layman said Lima has about 90 unionized workers, down from about 140 in 1997. Suiza's contract with Local 266 of the Glass Molders, Pottery and Plastics Workers Allied of America expires Feb. 28. The union and Suiza officials tentatively agreed to extend the basic terms of the contract until the shut down. Lima workers were scheduled to vote on the tentative agreement Feb. 20.
Layman said Plastipak has not contacted the union to explore continuing employment possibilities in Lima or to explain its intentions for the plant.
In another move, Plastipak purchased a 257,000-square-foot facility in East Longmeadow, Mass.
The company paid $6.2 million for the 27-acre site to Milton Bradley Co., a division of Hasbro Inc., according to documents filed Jan. 20, 1999, with the Hampden County Registry of Deeds in Springfield, Mass. The purchase was made by William C. Young and William P. Young.
A company executive declined to comment about the company's plans for the plant. Plastipak has been advertising for blow molding employees in local newspapers.
Plastipak ranked fifth in the Plastics News' November 1998 survey of North American blow molders with $490 million in sales for the fiscal year ended Oct. 31.
Correspondent Frank Antosiewicz contributed to this story.