BRISTOL, VA (WJHL) – Folks in Bristol, Virginia tell News Channel 11 news of the Ball Corporation plant closing comes as a blow to an already struggling job market.
“Anytime you lose 230 jobs in a small town like ours, it has a big impact. What it is this time we’re not sure,” Archie Hubbard, Mayor of Bristol, Virginia, said it’s too early to tell exactly what kind of impact the closure of the Ball plant will have on his town, but he said it certainly puts hundreds of people and their families in a tough spot.
“I think its fortunate it happening at this time because there are other plants looking for employees, so a lot of these people will probably be able to find employment there,” Hubbard said.
Johnny Whitley lives in Bristol, Virginia and said new jobs won’t come that easy for those who are being laid off.
“Most of them are going to end up on unemployment for a long time because they’re not going to be able to find anything,” Whitley told News Channel 11.
He said there just aren’t enough full time jobs in Bristol.
“People got to work full time, I work in abingdon, I had to go all the way to abingdon to get a good full time job,” Whitley said.
Scott McCarty, a spokesperson for Ball Corporation, said those concerns are what led the company to make this announcement now.
“We announced it this far in advance to give our employees as much notice as possible,” McCarty said.
He said the company will offer severance packages to the 26 salaried employees who can also apply elsewhere within the company.
Ball will negotiate with an employee union representing the rest of the laid off workers, about 204 hourly employees.
“This is a difficult decision, no one wants to close a plant. It has nothing to do with our employees or their efforts there, it’s a business decision based on changes in the industry and it continues to remain competitive,” McCarty said.
Ball Corporation officials announced Wednesday the company’s Bristol, Va. plant will close, affecting around 230 employees.
A news release issued by Ball Corp said the beverage packaging end-making plant in Bristol will stop production the second quarter of 2016.
Management at the plant announced the closure to employees Wednesday at 2:30 p.m.
Ball spokesperson Scott McCarty said the 230 affected employees will lose their jobs by May 2016, and 26 of those employees are salaried workers.
McCarty said layoffs at the plant will occur in waves over the next 10 months as production comes to a halt in May 2016.
Ball will reportedly offer severance packages to the salaried staff with opportunities to transfer to other Ball facilities.
According to McCarty, Ball will work with hourly employees through their union.
News Channel 11 reached out to several Bristol, Va. city officials Wednesday afternoon who said they had not yet been made aware of the closure.
Ball Corporation purchased the Bristol, Va. plant in 1998 when the company acquired Reynolds Metals.
The following is the full release issued by Ball Corporation:
BROOMFIELD, Colo., July 29, 2015 — Ball Corporation [NYSE: BLL] announced today that it will cease production at the company’s Bristol, Va., beverage packaging end-making plant during the second quarter of 2016. The plant’s capacity will be supplied by other Ball facilities.
Ball expects to record a total after-tax charge of approximately $19 million, primarily for employee severance and benefits, facility shut down costs and other actions. The majority of the charge is expected to be recorded in the third quarter of 2015.
“This action will better align our manufacturing footprint to meet the needs of our customers as we actively manage our overall cost structure,” said Daniel W. Fisher, president, North American metal beverage packaging. “Closing a plant is a difficult decision. We compete against plastic, glass and metal packaging in a highly competitive market, and we will continue to maximize value in our existing operations through optimizing our network, as well as expanding into new and growing products, capabilities and markets to meet the needs of our customers.”
The Bristol plant opened in 1971 and is one of Ball’s oldest North American beverage packaging plants. It produces beverage can ends in a variety of sizes, and employs approximately 230 people. Bristol employees will be provided benefits in accordance with the effects bargaining process, and will be able to apply for open positions within Ball.
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