Ardagh Glass is expected to close its Salem, NJ, facility in October, and company officials say a final decision will be made at the end of the month.
Ardagh Glass, manufacturer of a variety of bottles, is still expected to be closed in October. Company officials made the announcement of the closure in July. It will mean the loss of 290 jobs and the end of glassmaking in Salem City.
“While a final management decision will be made at the end of September, Ardagh Group continues to hold discussions with community, government and union leaders to prepare for the closing of its Salem glass container facility on or after Oct. 15,” said Gina Behrman, director of marketing and communications for Ardagh Group, Glass North America.
Ardagh’s most recent statement goes against the more hopeful sentiment of Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno who disputed in August that Ardagh would inevitably be closed. Guadagno said she was taking action and putting up a fight to prevent the closure of the plant. Though she couldn’t guarantee her fight would end up victorious, she said it’s a fight she believes she’ll ultimately win.
But some employees said they have been told the closure is certain, and they haven’t been told anything else.
Ardagh is the manufacturer of a wide variety of bottles, with the majority going to Snapple and Yoo-hoo — both owned by Dr. Pepper Snapple Group.
Marcus Gibson, president of local union 6, which represents 70 of the 290 employees at the glass factory, previously said it was his understanding that another company that underbid Ardagh. Salem County officials said in July that they heard the ensuing closure is due to Ardagh losing its contract with Snapple. Though he didn’t specify what company, State Assemblyman John Burzichelli said the closure was due to the loss of a contract.
Dawn Myers, president of Local Union 21, said she too has been told the company is going ahead with the closure. And, she said the word on the street is the company hasn’t been able to find another contract. “What people are saying is that the state didn’t come through with any of the contracts they were trying to get,” Myers said, emphasizing that the information was just hearsay.
Burzichelli said, as of now, a contract has not materialized. “The effort is not over, but the clock is ticking,” he said.
Salem County Freeholder Director Julie Acton said she has been in contact with the lieutenant governor’s office and is hoping to organize follow-up meetings with state, local and company officials. However, she said communication with company officials has been difficult at times.
Ardagh would not confirm these reports, but the company has pledged to help displaced Salem workers.
The plant has deep roots in the city dating back to 1863, according to a history the company provided during its 150th anniversary celebration last year.