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Berry Plastics to close plant Jan. 3
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Positions eliminated:
Customer Service Manger - 1
Customer Service Representative - 10
Electrical Technician - 1
Human Resources Manager - 1
Lead Maintenance Technician - 1
Logistics Manager - 1
Machine Operator - 6
Maintenance Manager/Engineer - 1
Maintenance Technician - 4
Material Handler - 6
PDM Clerk - 1
Plant Kee Manager - 1
Plant Process Technician - 1
Process Technician/Trainer - 1
Quality Inspector - 3
Receiving Clerk - 1
Scheduler - 1
Senior Machine Operator - 18
Team Leader - 2

Source: Berry's Nov. 4 letter to the City of Covington, required by the Worker Adjustment and Retraining Act of 1988.

Berry Plastics is closing its Covington manufacturing plant Jan. 3, and will layoff the 61 remaining employees, though its working to find affected employees jobs at other Berry facilities or elsewhere in the local market.

Communications Manager Eva Schmitz said the company determined it could use available capacity at other plants to manufacture products that were being made in Covington.

In a prepared statement, Dave Corey, president of Berry's Specialty Films Division, said the move will streamline operations.

"Due to the excess capacity within the Specialty Films Division and uncertain economic environment, an in-depth review of our business determined this step is necessary," Corey said.

Berry owns the physical plant in Covington but has not decided what it will do with the building.

Berry purchased its Covington plant in 2007 to serve as a strategic location in the Southeast. The Covington plant produces industrial trash liners and bags as well as plastic stretch film, like the film used to wrap large packages. Large corporations, including Con Agra, Kraft and Wal-Mart, use products made in Covington.

The Covington plant is 295,000 sq. ft. and produced around 100 million pounds of film per year as of May 2010, according to a previous article in The News. The company employed just fewer than 200 workers at that time.

Production from the Covington facility will be transferred to Berry facilities in Kentucky, Tennessee, Oklahoma and Belleville, Ontario, according to the statement.

The plant was previously owned by Mobil Oil Corporation, which located in 1967. Mobil's facilities were eventually split between Berry and Pactiv Corporation.

"We have been in constant contact with Berry Plastics over the last few years and have been working diligently to assist with all needs that pertain to this facility, from more rail access to power needs," said Chamber President Hunter Hall.

Hall said the closing is sad news, but Shannon Davis, director of business development, has been working closely with Berry's human resource staff to facilitate relocation to other Covington industries or surrounding counties.

"Her relationships with local human resource representatives have allowed us to put those affected by the Berry Plastics closing at the forefront of job openings within these facilities," Hall said. "In addition, we are hopeful that the work that Roger Harrison, senior vice president of economic development, is doing in new business recruitment will prove to be timely to this plant closure and perhaps new facilities can utilize the talent pool of those at Berry Plastics."