Saturday, March 26, 2005

It remains to be seen what effect the purchase of the Tetra Pak plant in Joplin by York, Pa., based Graham Packaging will have on local workers. The plant, based in Joplin's Industrial Park, makes plastic bottles for beverages.
The March 11 PR Newswire said the deal involved "the transfer of all contracts, fixed assets, inventories, and plant employees." Financial terms were not released.
Graham Packaging produced approximately 20 billion units at 90 plants in 16 countries last year and had worldwide net sales of $2.1 billion over the 12 months ending June 30, 2004.
The good news for Joplin workers is that this is the second such deal Graham has made in the past five months. The first, the purchase of the plastic container business of Toledo, Ohio, based Owens-Illinois, actually resulted in the hiring of an additional 65 workers.
An advantage for the Joplin plant is that it produces containers for plants that are also located in the Joplin Industrial Park, part of the strategy Graham has been emphasizing in its filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission.
The bad news appears to be for workers at Graham's St. Louis plant, which reportedly is being shut down this month. The announcement was made in January that the plant would be shutting down at about this time, according to the St. Louis Business Journal. Missouri's Rapid Response team was called in two months ago to help the 135 workers who are losing their jobs.
The Springfield News-Leader reports today that the Missouri Rehabilitation Center in Mount Vernon stands to lose $1 million out of an already lean operating budget, as a result of cuts recommended by Governor Matt Blunt.
The center was the place where Nancy Cruzan was cared for until her feeding tubes were removed in December 1990, a case that has been revisited by the media since the Terri Schaivo case returned to prominence this week. The Center was described by Republican Representative Jack Goodman in the article as "a facility of last resort for a lot of Missourians who are not otherwise covered by Medicaid or other programs."

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