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Valley News Dispatch

East Deer glass plant to close next year, almost 200 jobs lost

Mary Ann Thomas
| Wednesday, Nov. 15, 2017, 3:48 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.
The Pittsburgh Glass Works plant in East Deer.
Louis B. Ruediger | Tribune-Review
The Pittsburgh Glass Works plant in East Deer.

Pittsburgh Glass Works confirmed Wednesday it will close its plant in East Deer, phasing out production in June.

The automotive glass factory employs almost 200 workers.

The Creighton plant, a division of Mexico-based Vitro, is one of the company's eight automotive glass manufacturing plants in the United States.

The company cited a “combination of difficult realities,” including aging facilities at the 130-year-old plant that are unable to meet increasing technological demands.

“Discussions between the company and the United Steel Workers (USW) did not produce a long-term solution to the challenges facing PGW's auto-glass manufacturing plan,” according to the company's news release.

“We have no comment,” said R.J. Hufnagel, a USW spokesman.

Overcapacity was one problem cited by the company.

“Of the products manufactured at Creighton, PGW has the capacity to produce 2 million more units per year than the current market demands,” the company said.

“We appreciate our discussions with the USW regarding Creighton's future, but there was a combination of difficult realities we faced,” said Joe Stas, PGW CEO and president, in a statement issued Wednesday.

“Together, we jointly reviewed every realistic business scenario, and all factors led to the reality of Creighton's closure in 2018,” he wrote. “We are now turning our attention to ensuring our employees receive the benefits and other assistance that they and their families will need through this transition in 2018.”

The initial transition of production from Creighton is scheduled to take place in January, with a shift of certain customer orders to Evansville, Ind.

Creighton's second production line will continue operations until summer, with the plant closure scheduled for June.

Headquartered in Pittsburgh, PGW reiterated its commitments to Pennsylvania.

East Deer Commissioner Tony Taliani said he is disappointed by the news.

“It's a major, major loss for our community and for Allegheny County and for Western Pennsylvania,” Taliani said.

Taliani said the financial impact is unknown, but he said the plant is the township's biggest employer, water customer and taxpayer.

“We will not know the full impact of this until it really happens,” he said.

Taliani said he is hopeful another company will want to move into the property once it's available.

He said the township shouldn't have to take on the costs of maintaining the property or demolishing it.

“We will actively pursue code enforcement and try to ensure that will not happen,” Taliani said.

In addition to Creighton, PGW operates plants in Tipton and Meadville and a research facility in Pittsburgh, which combined employ 650 people.

Vitro, Mexico's largest glass maker, completed its purchase of PGW earlier this year from Chicago-based LKQ Corp. for $310 million.

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

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