Newell Rubbermaid Inc. is consolidating Rubbermaid Home Products facilities again, this time in Ohio. Meantime, the consumer products firm said it will not sell the Home Products unit, which Newell had committed to selling in 2005's second quarter.
``Everybody's working hard here. We've been getting a lot more business into facilities,'' said Joe Marotti, vice president of human resources at the Fairlawn, Ohio, headquarters for Rubbermaid Home Products.
``It became a business to keep,'' he said in a Jan. 26 telephone interview.
Still, Sandy Springs, Ga.-based parent company Newell Rubbermaid continues to consolidate manufacturing under interim Chief Executive Officer Mark Ketchum.
That means by March, Rubbermaid will close a 300,000-square-foot injection molding plant in Perry Township, near Canton, Ohio. That capacity will be moved to a Rubbermaid injection molding plant in nearby Mogadore, Ohio. Newell owns both buildings. Canton was a nonunion shop.
``Mogadore could accept Canton, but Canton couldn't accept Mogadore,'' Marotti said. Two-thirds of the 290 employees from Canton will be offered jobs in Mogadore, he said.
``We're always trying to take costs out of the business,'' he said, citing also the need for expansion that was not possible at the Canton site.
``It just became landlocked; we didn't have a big enough distribution center there,'' he said.
Perry Township officials were confused by Rubbermaid's move because they had given the company a 10-year tax abatement, and Rubbermaid had discussed expanding the plant.
``They could have expanded where they were. Their excuse was that there was a wetland,'' said Jim Holmes, president of the Perry Township Board of Trustees. ``I just don't understand that. Maybe that's the way they do business.''
Newell Rubbermaid never announced plans to sell Rubbermaid Home Products, and the news release that said the unit no longer was on the block was vague: ``In the second quarter of 2005, the company committed to the divestiture of a business in the Cleaning & Organization segment. After winning several line reviews with key retailers and identifying significant productivity opportunities, the company decided in the fourth quarter 2005 to retain this business, which is now reflected in continuing operations.''
Marotti confirmed that the language referred to Rubbermaid Home Products.
``We're healthier now than we have been for a long time,'' Marotti said. ``Obviously, resin pricing is putting pressure on all businesses to remain competitive. We have not at any one time ever skipped on the quality of our products. Our quality remains the same.''
The plant closing is the latest in a string of shutterings under publicly held Newell Rubbermaid, which in September had announced plans to cut 5,000 jobs and to close one-third of its 80 manufacturing facilities.
In other news, Newell Rubbermaid's Little Tikes Co. division based in Hudson, Ohio, underwent its own restructuring that resulted in 22 layoffs Jan. 19.
The cuts happened across all segments of that business, said spokeswoman Jean Rupar. They included the head of purchasing and vice president of research and development.
``We're trying to be more streamlined in how we go to market,'' Rupar said. ``We're still up and running, and we'll still continue to make our domestic products here in Hudson.'' The unit employs 825 in Hudson.