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Valley News Dispatch

Pittsburgh Glass Works plant to cease production in mid-August

Mary Ann Thomas
| Friday, July 13, 2018, 10:36 a.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.

Pittsburgh Glass Works will stop production at its automotive glass plant Aug. 17, ceasing glassmaking at the 135-year-old site in East Deer, where Pittsburgh Plate Glass founded the first commercially successful plate glass factory in the country.

Formerly owned by what became PPG Industries, the Pittsburgh Glass Works’ Creighton plant in East Deer is closing because it can’t keep up with increasing technological demands, PGW CEO and President Joe Stas has said. The glassmaker’s plant capacity for manufacturing is above market demand, he added.

This is the third, and likely final, closure date given to the plant’s remaining 160 employees represented by the United Steelworkers, many of whom have had to work two months longer than planned.

These workers have been disappointed about the changing closure dates, according to union officials.

However, the union and company hammered out a deal to offer special bonuses and layoff benefits to workers who needed to leave before the plant closure because of a new job or retraining, according to Jennifer Eck, senior director of human resources for Vitro Automotive Glass, the parent company of PGW, which is a division of Mexico-based Vitro.

Kent Crytzer, of Buffalo Township, the Glass Works union president for the United Steelworkers, said the company had orders to fill and had no choice but to extend the work at the Creighton plant.

“Some were angry, but the company agreed that anyone who had a job lined up could go to that job and will get their severance pay,” said Crytzer. About six employees have been able to leave earlier than planned with severance pay because they lined up a new job, he said.

Workers who have job-retraining education opportunities also can leave early with severance pay benefits, according to Crytzer.

The United Steelworkers filed a petition Dec. 13 with the U.S. Department of Labor’s Trade Adjustment Assistance Program (TAA), claiming the workers were adversely affected by foreign trade.

The TAA accepted the claim and granted special benefits to PGW employees including extended unemployment compensation, job retraining and allowances for relocation expenses, in addition to state benefits.

The Creighton plant’s production will move to other Vitro locations and will be handled by the company’s current workforce at those plants, according to PGW.

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

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