Guardian Industries’ Jefferson Hills facility set to close

Glass producer will lay off 114 workers.

Guardian Industries has told state officials it is closing its Jefferson Hills plant and laying off 114 workers.

A layoff notice sent to the state Department of Labor and Industry said the plant will close Aug. 4.

Guardian employs 17,000 workers in more than 25 countries. It makes glass for the transportation and building industries.

In a June 4 letter to the Pennsylvania agency, plant manager John Buckner said United Steelworkers union officials were notified in October that the company planned to close the Jefferson Hills plant. Guardian negotiated a plant closing agreement with the union that was dated Nov. 25, according to the letter.

Mr. Buckner told state officials that 109 workers will be laid off between Aug. 4 and Aug. 31, and that remaining employees will be laid off by the end of the year.

In January, Guardian agreed to install pollution control equipment at the plant by the end of the year after the Allegheny County Health Department charged it with emitting excessive amounts of smog-causing air pollutants. According to a health department press release, Guardian faced fines of up to $4,800 for each day it operated without the equipment. It also agreed to pay a $25,000 penalty to settle the charges.

Jim Thompson, deputy director of environmental health, said, at the time, the department did not know of the agreement two months earlier between Guardian and the union. However, Guardian had told county officials there was a strong possibility the plant would close, he said.

“They indicated the economic viability of the plant was very much in question,” Mr. Thompson said.

He estimated the pollution control equipment would have cost more than $1 million.

Guardian paid the $25,000 fine and started incurring daily penalties of $1,400 on April 19. Those daily penalties will increase to $2,800 on July 18 and to $4,800 on Oct. 10. The penalties have to be paid once Guardian stops operating the plant, Mr. Thompson said.