3Months to Shutdown?

Plant closing watch: 3M’s Elyria, Ohio location

With about three months left on the clock, there seems to be little hope for 3M’s Elyria, Ohio plant. Following a November announcement of closure slated for June 2017, the 140-odd employees of the sponge manufacturing facility lobbied tirelessly for a reversal. Inevitably, their hope was kindled by a changing of the guard in the Oval Office. Help has not yet come. A YouTube campaign was started in January, compiling the voices of employees. Emotions run high as the employees question corporate motives and implore the new administration for help.

Politics aside, the plant’s operations were the lifeline for 136 jobs (106 union jobs) over 180,000 square feet, on 110 acres of land built in 1992 and expanded three times: in 1996, 2002, and 2004. So if your facility got bigger in size recently, that doesn’t mean it isn’t a candidate for shutdown. Elyria is one of the company’s two main plants for sponges and cellulose blocks; a manufacturing site for 3M’s Scotch-Brite and private label scrubber sponge products. The site has origins in the 1950s as a Nylonge Company sponge facility with products pioneered by immigrants. Workers believe the jobs will end up in Mexico, although the company has stated the work is being sent to its other sponge-making plant in Tonawanda, New York.

By law, employers laying off at least 50 employees are required to send what is known as a WARN notice to the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services at least 60 days before the mass layoff or plant closing. Hence, the cuts will take place over a three month period from June to September. A severance agreement facilitated by Workers United Union, Local 1406T includes 4 to 26 weeks of pay based on seniority and an increase in the pension calculation. It could also include provisions for worker retraining, per the Cleveland Plain Dealer.


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