Plastic sheet extruder and container producer Minnesota Diversified Industries LLC of St. Paul, Minn., is facing massive layoffs at its facilities in Hibbing and Grand Rapids, Minn.
The firm plans to lay off as many as 300 of its staff of 360. MDI is a not-for-profit company, and the majority of its employees are disabled and/or come from disadvantaged backgrounds.
MDI extrudes sheet at the site in Grand Rapids and fabricates totes in Hibbing. Customers include the U.S. Postal Service, although the firm has been trying to diversify its client base.
MDI officials did not return calls seeking comment. The layoff notice was confirmed through a paperwork filed with the state.
Kit Borgman, spokeswoman for the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development, said MDI was relying on winning a postal service contract in February to support its business.
``MDI is being cooperative with us,'' she said in a recent telephone interview. ``They're continuing to insist that not all those employees will lose their jobs.''
The firm has been under scrutiny the past several months with allegations of gambling outings and company-paid executive perks during a time when MDI was taking a major hit in terms of sales.
Rich Cowles, executive director with the Charities Review Council of Minnesota, said MDI defended the gambling trip, even writing a letter to the editor for a newspaper in Minnesota. Still, he said, perception is powerful. ``It can result in loss of public trust, which hurts all nonprofits,'' Cowles said in recent telephone interview.
A report in The Herald Review in Grand Rapids said MDI Chief Executive Officer Mark de Naray said the layoffs could last six months.