Pactiv closing causes 170 to lose jobs

2012-08-21T11:52:00Z 2012-12-05T16:17:13Z Pactiv closing causes 170 to lose jobsBy ROD STETZER | Chippewa Herald
August 21, 2012 11:52 am  • 

The wife of a decades-long employee of Pactiv phoned him Tuesday with the bad news that the Chippewa Falls plant was closing by January 2013, putting 170 people out of work.

The woman said one of her co-workers told her the Pactiv plant was closing.

“I called my husband and that’s how he found out,” said the woman, who did not want her name used because her husband intends to stay with the company at 1500 West River St. until the polystyrene foam manufacturing plant closes.

“I feel so sad for him and all of the other people,” she said, adding that she was upset some workers had not been told by the company of the closing.

“It’s too bad this particular employer feels that these people are just numbers,” she said.

The company disclosed the closing in a two-sentence statement to the press Tuesday morning.

Tori Berndt, communications manager for Pactiv, said employees were told of the plant closing at an employee meeting Tuesday morning.

“They were reaching all shifts,” she said, adding, “Our plan is always to communicate with our employees first.”

Berndt did not have information on whether employees at the Chippewa Falls plant will be offered severance packages or jobs at other Pactiv facilities. When the company laid off 29 workers in January 2010, it did not offer those workers severance packages.

Pactiv Corporation calls itself the world’s largest manufacturer of foodservice disposables and food packaging. It says it has about 12,000 employees at 55 manufacturing facilities worldwide. Nine of those plants are unionized, reported.

A man who has worked for more than a decade for Pactiv but did not want his name used because he remains with the company said the Chippewa Falls plant’s contract with the United Steelworkers Union expired in February and had not been renegotiated.

“I am totally shocked,” the man said of the decision to close the plant. He said workers were informed of the decision at a 6:30 a.m. meeting, and there was no mention of offering the employees a severance package.

“I enjoyed the time there. I enjoyed the people there. It was a good atmosphere,” he said. The man, who is in his early 50s, said he worries he might not be able to find another job locally and potentially  lose his house.

“I hate to see another company leave Chippewa Falls. We’re getting to be a dead zone,” he said.

The Chippewa Falls Pactiv plant makes food service and food packaging products. Other Pactiv plants make Hefty products, including waste bags, slider storage bags, disposable tableware and disposable cookware.

“Production equipment and products at Chippewa Falls will be transferred to other Pactiv facilities based on the needs of customers and the business,” the company said.

“There are a lot of folks who are impacted in our community by this news today. This is certainly a loss for the community,” Chippewa Falls city council member Brian Flynn said.

“We are a very diverse community with many types of employers. We recently started adding jobs again in the last year or so with the EOG processing plant, (and) the addition at Premium Waters,” said  Flynn, who added the city will lose out because Pactiv is one of the largest consumers of city water.

From Aug. 1, 2011 to Aug. 1, 2012, Pactiv paid the city $29,000 in water, stormwater and industrial wastewater costs, said Connie Freagon, utility office manager for the city. She said Pactiv is not in the top five of the city’s water users.

Mayor Greg Hoffman said Pactiv has been an excellent partner in the community.

“It’s devastating to those losing their jobs,” he said, adding that he hopes they will be able to find jobs in the community.

Hoffman said the demand for the products the Chippewa Falls plant was producing changed, and that the company had considerably more workers years ago.

Chippewa Falls has seen job growth at EDI, Premium Waters and EOG Resources, he said.

“We have a lot of companies that are expanding. I’m confident that something will move in there,” Hoffman said of the West River Street building.

Pactiv began in 1965 as Packaging Corporation of America and then Tenneco Packaging Inc., becoming Pactiv in 1999.

Pactiv came to Chippewa Falls after acquiring the former Amoco Foam Products plant.

Reynolds Group Holdings, Limited acquired Pactiv for $6 billion in November 2010. It is a  subsidiary of Rank Group Ltd. That company was founded by Graeme Hart, a New Zealand billionaire, according to The Times of Northern Indiana.

Copyright 2015 Chippewa Herald. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

(12) Comments

  1. Charlotte
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    Charlotte - August 24, 2012 1:08 pm
    Unions are not to blame for closings. Greedy, rich corporations are. If it weren't for unions, many of the laws protecting rights would not exist. $7.50 an hour is hardly something to celebrate.
  2. A Wisconsinite
    Report Abuse
    A Wisconsinite - August 23, 2012 11:58 pm
    Don't do the "BLAME GAME " on the WI Governor,Gov.Scott E.Walker. He didn't cause the Demise of Pactiv!!! Blame the much-2-do 'Greedy Union' @ PACTIV. There'ye to blame for this fiasco and NOT GOV.WALKER!!! I do hope soon, another industrial employer comes in ASAP after 01-'13 to fill this VOID\GAP @ the soon-to-be Defunct/Vacant Pactiv building.with a bustling-energetic 175+ Non-Union Employees, as these employees will energize this plant facility as a profit-making company etc.Bye bye Union
  3. dbcocper99
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    dbcocper99 - August 23, 2012 10:56 pm
    Also I like the name Rod Stetzer. Huh huh huh. Rod.
  4. dbcocper99
    Report Abuse
    dbcocper99 - August 23, 2012 10:47 pm
    Merlin predicted this way before you did, he said that the Soros clan would ruin Pactiv and sure enough HE WAS RIGHT
  5. nihilyst
    Report Abuse
    nihilyst - August 23, 2012 8:45 pm
    The union was absolutely useless there. This was not a ploy to bust the union, it is a compnay that is centralizing resourses. There are 4 other plants besides the Chip Falls location that make the same products CF did but are situated in more central locations surrounded by larger consumer bases. CFalls is away from everywhere and shipping was too expensive. Anyone who was there knew this was going to happen. I predicted this 2 years ago.
  6. giddyfisher
    Report Abuse
    giddyfisher - August 23, 2012 8:41 pm
    The government cannot save or create. They do provide incentives (stimulus) or deterrents (taxes/tariffs).
  7. MaryJo
    Report Abuse
    MaryJo - August 23, 2012 5:02 am
    Maybe this is just rumors,,but heard recently that one of the sand plants layed off some workers within the last week. Can't remember what the name was, but I think it started with a P.
    Another question,,is Pactiv closing down because its union? Will it reopen later not being union? So where is Walker now to save another company and jobs?
  8. Further North
    Report Abuse
    Further North - August 22, 2012 1:51 pm
    "Thank God for the sand industry. All other business in this area is either shrinking, closing, or moving. In 2-3 years jobs in the sand industry will triple in the Chippewa Valley, high quality well paying jobs with good benefits. Most everything else is dust in the wind."

    If you've driven down HWY S...the sand plant creates enough of it's own dust in the wind...and we have no idea what the long term effects of pulling all that filtration out of the ground does to our water. But we have jobs.
  9. rob_bob68
    Report Abuse
    rob_bob68 - August 21, 2012 4:07 pm
    My father worked for them till 1992 and he started when it was "Applied research" back in the middle 60's.The old building was where Johns auto parts is/was in Chippewa and their was a big white poll shed building on the property and that's where the company was before the main building was built.I called him today and told him the news and he said " Go figure, their the only one left that's still a union"
  10. SoJo
    Report Abuse
    SoJo - August 21, 2012 3:35 pm
    Thank God for the sand industry. All other business in this area is either shrinking, closing, or moving. In 2-3 years jobs in the sand industry will triple in the Chippewa Valley, high quality well paying jobs with good benefits. Most everything else is dust in the wind....
  11. ChippewaFallsWisconsin
    Report Abuse
    ChippewaFallsWisconsin - August 21, 2012 3:10 pm
    And this is how people find out? I would have thought a multi million dollar company would have at least known if the severance packages will be given until they announce the closing. Imagine what the workers will go through until they know. What a horrible horrible company. So now another empty lot will stand in Chippewa. This is becoming a ghost town.
  12. Charlotte
    Report Abuse
    Charlotte - August 21, 2012 1:51 pm
    Applied Research and Developement Corp. (ARDCO)
    Amoco Foam Products
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