"The decision to close the Carteret plant was very difficult," said Joseph Grewe, president and chief executive of the Muncie, Ind.-based company. "However, the plant was not competitive and customer requirements can be fulfilled from other company facilities."
The closure continues the steady decline in glass manufacturing in New Jersey, where thousands of workers made soda and milk bottles and mayonnaise jars in the 1940s. Since that time, employment in the state's glass industry has plunged 50 percent, to 8,000 jobs.
The Carteret plant was founded by National Dairy in 1960, and over the years was owned by Metro Glass, Kraftco and Ball Glass before Saint-Gobain bought it five years ago.
The 33-acre plant makes 375 million clear-glass food and beverage containers a year, according to Tina Gaines, a spokeswoman for Saint-Gobain. The plant's production will be absorbed by 15 other company factories, she said.
"There is overcapacity in the glass industry," Gaines said. "We have too many machines making too many bottles. So, we are taking capacity out of the system."
Employees at the Carteret plant will be eligible for severance payments and continuation of health- care coverage for an extended period, the company said. Most of the workers are represented by the Glass, Molders, Pottery, Plastics & Allied Workers International union in Media, Pa. John Ryan, president of the union, could not be reached for comment.
Saint-Gobain Containers, the nation's second-largest glass container maker, produces bottles for the food, beverage, beer, spirits and wine markets. It is a unit of Compagnie de Saint-Gobain, the largest glass maker in the world, which is based in Paris.
"Saint-Gobain Containers is committed to assisting our Carteret employees during this difficult period by providing career counseling, placement support and résumé preparation assistance," said Thomas McDuffee, the company's senior vice president for human resources. "We will also be working with local organizations and other company locations to help identify potential job opportunities."