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Valley News Dispatch

Layoffs set to begin at Pittsburgh Glass Works in East Deer

Mary Ann Thomas
| Monday, April 9, 2018, 3:30 p.m.
The  Pittsburgh Glass Works plant in East Deer, owned by Mexico-based glass maker Vitro.
Louis B. Ruediger | Tribune-Review
The Pittsburgh Glass Works plant in East Deer, owned by Mexico-based glass maker Vitro.

Layoffs have begun at East Deer's Pittsburgh Glass Works, with three salaried workers let go recently and as many as 20 layoffs expected by the end of May, according to the company.

Two workers out of 160 were initially laid off at the automotive glass manufacturing facility but called back because of ongoing production needs, according to Scott Henry, PGW spokesman.

The plant is slated to close June 30 because it is an aging facility that can't keep up with increasing technological demands and it produces 2 million more units per year than the market demands, according to PGW CEO and President Joe Stas.

PGW recently filed its second Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification notice with the federal Department of Labor, stating that 18 workers will be laid off on May 20.

But ongoing staffing needs may reduce the number of layoffs in May, Henry said.

So far, no other union workers have been laid off, according to Kent Crytzer, 63, of Buffalo Township, the glassworks union president for the United Steelworkers.

But there have been some workers who quit after they found another job, he said.

There were close to 185 unionized workers at the Creighton plant about a year ago and now there are 160, according to Crytzer.

While some workers, like Crytzer, plan to retire, others are holding on to see if the plant qualifies for the U.S. Department of Labor's Trade Adjustment Assistance Program (TAA), claiming the workers were adversely affected by foreign trade.

Half of the automotive glass manufacturing plant's production is moving to Mexico, according to company officials.

The United Steelworkers filed a petition Dec. 13 with the U.S. Department of Labor's TAA program, claiming the workers were adversely affected by foreign trade.

Under TAA, laid-off workers can receive extended unemployment compensation, job retraining and allowances for relocation expenses, in addition to state benefits.

It's unknown whether the Department of Labor's Employment and Training Administration will make a decision on whether PGW workers are eligible before they are laid off.

Mary Ann Thomas is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach her at 724-226-4691, mthomas@tribweb.com or via Twitter @MaThomas_Trib.

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