News From Terre Haute, Indiana

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November 5, 2013

Packaging plant to close at end of year, cutting 150 employees

Friday announcement ends jobs for workers from multiple manufacturing unions

TERRE HAUTE — Multi Packaging Solutions will shutter its Terre Haute manufacturing plant on Dec. 31, terminating 150 employees.

The company on Friday sent a “WARN” notice of the closing to the Indiana Department of Workforce Development. “WARN” stands for Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act.  

The company, in the notice, stated, “Due to ongoing structural changes in the market for audio and video products, the company has seen a dramatic decline in the amount of work that is available, and a significant change in the type of work that remains.

“As a result, the company will permanently close its Terre Haute facility on Dec. 31, 2013, and 150 employees will be terminated,” the notice states.

Because the facility is being closed, employees of three unions will not have bumping rights, the company’s notice states. The facility’s unions include United Steel Workers Local 1135; Graphic Communications Union Local 17M; and United Steel, Paper and Forestry, Rubber, Manufacturing, Energy, Allied Industrial and Service Workers International Union.

“MPS regrets that this action is necessary,” the notice states. “The company is developing plans to help ensure an orderly wind-down of its operation, and is meeting with representatives of the unions to address the effects of this decision on bargaining unit employees,” the notice states.

Wayne Ranick, spokesman for the United Steel Workers, said 81 of the plant’s 150 employees are members of that union.

“There was bargaining about a year ago, and we worked to make improvements in the contract and the situation, to keep the plant viable, but obviously, that is not going to happen. The company is obviously planning to close the facility,” Ranick said Monday.

“Given what the tone of the conversations [was] last year during the contract, going back to last January, we can’t really say this is a surprise,” Ranick said. “It is a challenging situation because this facility does printed materials for CDs and DVDs, and we know a lot of the market has gone to the Internet, people purchasing that way … so it lessens demand” for printed products produced for multi-packaging.

Several telephone voice mail messages seeking comment where left Monday for Erin Willigan, vice president of marketing and MPS’s listed media contact, at the company’s New York City headquarters. None was returned.

In 2009, MPS bought the printing facility, at 4025 Third Parkway, from Ivy Hill. MPS also has a manufacturing facility in Indianapolis and facilities in five other states.

Steve Witt, president of the Terre Haute Economic Development Corp., said the closing “is absolutely disappointing news. They are a long-time employer in the community. It is a blow to our efforts,” Witt said.

“This is why as a community, our economic development efforts can’t ever be status quo, because status quo means falling behind. We always have to be pushing forward and that is what we do,” Witt said.

Reporter Howard Greninger can be reached at 812-231-4204 or howard.greninger@tribstar.com.

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