Layoffs loom at Waco glass plant

Layoffs are looming at Owens-Brockway Glass Container, Inc., in Waco. (Photo by Bill Gowdy)
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WACO, Texas (KWTX) Layoffs are looming at Owens-Brockway Glass Container, Inc., in Waco.

KWTX has learned that about 75 employees will be laid off indefinitely during a 14-day period beginning on Nov. 7 as the company shuts down one of the furnaces at the plant at 5200 Beverly Dr.

"With continued softer demand in the U.S. across the beer category, O-I plans to idle one of the furnaces it uses to manufacture glass containers at its Waco facility for an indefinite duration,” company spokesperson Leslie Orozco said in an email.

“This particular furnace is dedicated 100% to producing beer bottles. The remaining furnaces will continue to produce some beer as well as spirit and food glass packaging."

With about 350 workers, the plant is one of the city’s larger employers.

A source with knowledge of the situation told KWTX Thursday that the workers affected by the layoff are all members of Dist. 13 of the United Steel Workers Union.

On Aug. 2 the company reported second quarter net sales of $1.8 billion.

“Earnings fell short of management’s guidance as sales volumes were essentially flat with last year compared to our expectation of modest growth. Despite encouraging demand trends in April and May, June shipments were softer than anticipated including the impact of extreme weather conditions in Europe,” CEO Andres Lopez said at the time.

“We also incurred higher than expected costs in the Americas related to the commissioning of a furnace at a joint venture as well as unplanned downtime due to flooding and weather-related issues. While 2019 is turning out to be a difficult year, we believe many of these factors are temporary and we are taking action to accelerate performance.”