Graham Packaging Co. is closing another facility, this time in New Jersey, a move that will impact 71 employees, the company said in a filing with the state.
The plastic packaging company, however, held out the possibility that some of the workers at the Belvidere site could end up at other company location.
“The closing is a result of the company's declining sales volume to the point that it is no longer feasible to continue operating the plant,” states a Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act filing with the New Jersey Department of Labor & Workforce Development.
The company said layoffs will happen Sept. 26.
A company official could not be reached for comment, but a union official of Workers United, an affiliate of the Service Employees International Union, shared some insight. Employees at the plant are members of Local 1598 of the union.
“They called all the employees together and told them they were shutting the place down. They just don't have the work for them anymore. They told them they did a good job, they put forth a great effort. It's just that they don't have the work for them anymore,” Cassidy said.
The facility makes plastic bottles for the personal care market, she said.
The WARN notice indicates the company will post weekly notices of available positions at other Graham Packaging locations. Employees unable to find work at other company sites will receive severance, the notice states.
“There's a lot of people who have been employed here 20, 25, 30 years or more. I just think it's a real difficult time for them,” Cassidy said.
News of the New Jersey closing follows a company decision to shutter its Baltimore plastic container plant earlier this year. A WARN filing with Maryland at the time indicated 79 workers were impacted.
Reynolds Group Holdings Ltd. of Auckland, New Zealand, acquired Graham Packaging in 2011. Reynolds is part of Rank Group Ltd., a private investment firm controlled billionaire Graeme Hart.
It was also announced earlier this year that Graham Packaging will join with sister companies Closure Systems International Inc. and Evergreen Packaging Inc. to create a consolidated global headquarters in Memphis, Tenn.