Glass plant to temporarily lay off 500

Some 500 employees of The Glass Group will face temporary layoffs beginning May 9 when the two main plant furnaces will be idled for inventory adjustment and scheduled maintenance, Kenneth Rock, chairman and CEO, said Monday.

"One furnace will be brought back into production on July 28, and the other will be brought back on July 10," Rock said.

"It's not an abnormal condition to idle furnaces and machines at any given time during a production year," Rock said.

"Employees are being asked to take vacation during the idle period so as to have vacations completed when production returns," Rock said.

Other than a skeleton crew, nobody else will be working in the plant during this period, Rock said.

"When the furnaces commence production again, we plan to put back to work those who are being laid off Rock said.

Donald Ayres, local executive director of economic development, said: "Obviously, it is of great concern when there is a layoff of local residents. We know that impacts real people and their families. We do understand, however, that these sort of shutdowns do have a history in the glass business.

"We will do whatever we can to work with the company to ensure that the long-term employment remains at a high level in Millville," Ayres said.

The Glass Group purchased Alcan's Molded Glass operations at the end of September. A principal owner, Rock was president of Wheaton Glass for five years during the 1990s.

"The outlook for the future of this complex is very favorable," Rock reaffirmed Monday.

In speaking to the Greater Millville Chamber of Commerce a couple of weeks ago, V. Paul Weikel, vice president of engineering for The Glass Group, said production at the Millville plant had increased 25 percent in the past six months. He also said that at the closing of the sale in September, Alcan had approximately $122 million in sales. The Glass Group is forecasting $130 million in sales this year.

600450 Glass plant to temporarily lay off 500
Date: 23 April 2003

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