Lancaster, Pa.-based Graham Packaging Co. will close a manufacturing plant in North Kansas City, Mo., this summer and lay off all 67 hourly and salaried employees.
The process to shutter the packaging molder's fifth plant in two years will begin in June and end by Aug. 31. Employees will lose their jobs in staggered rounds set for June 3, June 21, July 5 and July 26.
Founded in 1970, Graham Packaging started out molding motor oil containers and expanded into the beverage, dairy, food and health care markets. With $1.9 billion in sales in 2019, Graham ranks second among North American blow molders, according to Plastics News' latest ranking.
The North Kansas City facility is scheduled to close July 31, according to a letter sent to the Missouri Department of Higher Education and Workforce Development.
"A few employees may be asked to remain employed beyond July 26, 2021, for the purpose of dismantling equipment and assisting with general cleanup, but they will be laid off as soon as that work is completed in August 2021," Eddie Eckles, a union official, said in the letter.
Eckles is president of Local 20 of the United Steel Workers of America District 11 AFL-CIO CLC, which represents the production and maintenance employees at the plant.
The union employees have bumping rights, Eckles said in the letter.
Graham workers were notified about the layoffs in staggered meetings held March 2-5, he also said.
The North Kansas City closure will be Graham's fifth since 2019.
Last year a blow molding plant that employed 84 people in Hazle Township, Pa., was taken offline over an eight-month period.
When the Pennsylvania plant closing was announced, Graham Packaging CEO Mike King told Plastics News the decision was "difficult but necessary as we strive for efficiencies that will allow us to respond to our customers' growing need for sustainable cost-effective solutions."
The Graham website says one out of every three company plants is strategically positioned near or inside customers' filling facilities for collaboration and to eliminate the costs associated with shipping empty bottles.
The Hazle Township workers had a chance to transfer to Graham plants in Emigsville and Farmbrook, Pa., where about 60 news positions were open.
In 2019, Graham closed plants in Harrisonburg, Va., and Santa Ana, Calif., eliminating a total of 137 jobs, as well as Holland, Mich., where 42 jobs were lost.