By Ryan Velez
The Kansas City Star reports that 280 full-time employees and 100 contract laborers are affected by Procter & Gamble closing down its Kansas City plant. A statement from the company says production will be transferred to its new facility in West Virginia.
“This is planned to be complete by mid-2020 and will result in the closure of the Kansas City plant in late 2020,” the statement said. It will be transferring production of its Our Dish Care business from Kansas City, Kan., to its Tabler Station, W.Va., plant, which will also absorb jobs from the company’s Iowa City, Iowa, plant. The combined moves will increase the workforce at the West Virginia plant from 700 to 900, the company said.
“Decisions like this are never easy,” the Proctor & Gamble statement said, “but we are communicating this decision more than two years in advance to help our employees plan for the future. We are committed to supporting P&G people through the transition in a manner consistent with our values and principles.” It added that it plans to negotiate with the local labor union “regarding support to help employees transition to opportunities, whether that be transfers to other P&G sites or beyond P&G.”
U.S. Sen. Jerry Moran, a Kansas Republican, said in a statement that he was “extremely disappointed by Procter & Gamble’s surprise decision.”
“I spoke with leaders and employees at P&G last fall and this closure was not shared during our discussion,” Moran said. “These decisions not only impact the employees but the entire community.”
This move comes a week after federal officials sued a Chicago-based staffing company seeking back pay and punitive damages for women employees who were harassed at the Kansas City, Kan., soap factory. SMX LLC, which does business as Staff Management|SMX, allegedly violated the employees’ civil rights by allowing a manager to repeatedly harass the workers. The company no longer provides contract labor at the factory.
The Kansas City, Kan., plant was the company’s first expansion by P&G outside its home city of Cincinnati. The plant’s products include Dawn, Gain, Ivory and Joy hand and dishwashing detergents. P&G currently has 10 plants in the United States, out of 110 worldwide. The company employs about 95,000 people, about 25,000 in the U.S.