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Without buyer, manufacturer to close plants



Published: Sat, February 5, 2005 @ 12:00 a.m.



The union says the company asked for too many cuts in wages and benefits.

ANDOVER (AP) -- A plastics manufacturing company plans to close three plants that employ about 600 people in Ohio and Pennsylvania unless someone buys the bankrupt company.

Andover-based Buffalo Molded Plastics, which is doing business as Andover Industries, has filed notice with state officials in Ohio and Pennsylvania that the last day of work for employees is March 31. Andover Industries filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in October.

Two plants in Meadville, Pa., that employ 250 and another plant in Andover with 342 workers would close, company president Nick Bogdanso said. A plant in Dayton and a sales office in Troy, Mich., were not included in the company's notice of closure to the Ohio Department of Jobs and Family Services. The plants make plastic parts for automobiles, appliances and snowmobiles.

In Andover, a sign posted in front of the plant calls for job applications, which gives some employees hope.

"It's been hard for all the employees especially those of us who have been here a long time," said Tammy Vickery, who has worked for 18 years in the finishing department. She said at this point she's not out job hunting, but hoping someone will come in to buy the plant and save jobs.

"We are trying to sell the company plants. There are some people looking," said Bogdanso, who did not discuss more details.

Bogdanso said some employees are refusing to believe the bad news.

"Their livelihood is affected. We have good people here and I feel bad," Bogdanso said.

Negotiations

The company continues to negotiate with the union to try to cut some costs. Bogdanso refused to comment on the talks.

Production employees are members of the Paper, Allied-Industrial, Chemical and Energy Workers International Union, and their three-year contract expires March 31.

Union president Russell Cipra, a 16-year employee at Andover Industries, said the union so far has not agreed to the company's proposal, which he says requires a pension plan freeze and too many cuts in benefits and wages.

"We asked them [company officials] to either make the cut changes in our insurance benefits or the pension. They kept on saying it's all or nothing," Cipra said.

News this week of the Andover plant closing worried other area businesses.

"It will be devastating I think," said Frank Romano, owner of the nearby Sparkle Supermarket. "There is just not much employment in town now with another industry going to close. The effect will be fast and I'll feel it."

Copyright 2005 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.




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