Huntington plant temporarily laying off 164 while expansion continues

June 5th, 2017

By Michelle Read for the Huntington Herald-Press | Indiana Ecnomic Digest

Continental Structural Plastics (CSP) announced Wednesday temporary, planned layoffs of 164 employees through a vague WARN notice.

The WARN notice states that employees must be made aware ahead of time of any mass layoffs, through the Worker Adjustment and Training Notification Act of 1988. While the notice speaks of mass layoffs, it also mentions that the layoffs are temporary.

The notice states the temporary layoffs will be put into effect beginning July 31, while the company expands plant operations.

Mark Wickersham, executive director for Huntington County Economic Development, said the vagueness of the WARN notice, and the limited information, created an impression that “stirred” things up.

“Because they just can’t release a lot of details in the WARN notice,” Wickersham said. “And the federal process that governs the WARN notice system is simply not helpful for disseminating specific details, which the community and the employees would hope to have.”

Wickersham said this is just a temporary disruption associated with growth and investment in the facility. The expansion will cost $33.5 million and create 130,000 square-feet of new space to their existing 200,000 square-feet.

Kim Zitny, Director, Corporate Communications for CSP, said it’s a very large expansion.

“Basically, we’re installing and removing equipment … moving presses,” Zitny said. “(It’s) not wise to have employees in the plant while remodeling.”

The planned layoffs from CSP are temporary as they remodel the existing building and continue to “ramp up” the new addition to the facility, according to Wickersham.

“To some extent the situation with CSP is not unlike a home owner doing a major remodeling project,” Wickersham said. “There’s going to be inconveniences and disruptions while construction’s taking place, but in the end the project was worth doing and speaks for itself.”

CSP has a major customer that is doing the same thing and expanding their company, but in another state.

Officials did not specify what other state the company is holding additional expansions.

“Fortunately, the timing of both projects coordinates in a way that as one comes back online, the other will be expecting production,” Wickersham said. “There’s no reason whatsoever to be concerned about the future of CSP’s presence in Huntington.”

Zitny said that expansions should be completed and employees returning by the fourth quarter, which is just about three months from layoff.