WS Packaging closing

WS Packaging Inc., a commercial label and packaging plant purchased by Multi-Color Corp. and located in Sandycreek Township, is closing.

Several reports from employees at the plant over the past week have indicated operations will cease by the end of the summer.

In addition, the state Department of Labor and Industry’s Rapid Response, an early intervention service that assists workers and employers affected by layoffs, plant closures, or natural disasters, has been notified of the shutdown.

However, numerous calls to the company, which was purchased in July 2019 by the Cincinnati-based Multi-Color Corp., asking for details about the closing were not returned.

No information was available as to the number of employees at the plant, located on DeBence Drive, or the reason for the closure.

As of Monday, there had been no filing by the company with the Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification (WARN), a federal regulation that requires employers to give affected workers a 60-day advance notice of a plant closing or large layoffs.

The WARN notification affects companies that will lay off 50 or more employees.

While employees have reportedly been notified of the shutdown, few if any economic development agencies in the area have been contacted by the plant owners.

One local agency, though, has reacted to reports about the closure.

“The pending closure of WS Packaging represents a huge loss to Franklin and the surrounding communities, said Deborah Eckelberger, development director for the Franklin Industrial & Commercial Development Authority (FICDA). “As the employees and the company transition through closure, those impacted can reach out to me anytime for assistance”.

Eckelberger said she is encouraging WS Packaging employees to contact FICDA at 432-4476 for information and assistance.

The WS Packaging/Multi-Color plant is located in Sandycreek Township. Sandycreek officials were not aware of reports about the plant closing.

“We don’t know anything about this,” said Dawn Jankovich, secretary-treasurer for Sandycreek Township. “This is a surprise to us but it matters as to our budget and our people.”

A little history

The printing company began as a division of The Derrick newspaper in the 1890s. It was sold in 1973 to its employees and renamed Seneca Printing.

The company eventually moved to the Sandycreek Industrial Park and merged in the mid-1990s with Salem Label Co. of Salem, Ohio. It became known as SenecaSalem and operated printing facilities in Sandycreek and Salem.

WS Packaging Group purchased the company in November 2007.At that time, the company had 125 employees at the local facility.

A year ago, it was bought by Multi-Color Corp., headquartered in Cincinnati. Multi-Color was then acquired by an affiliate of Platinum Equity, a private equity firm.

Multi-Color Corp. has 86 plants in 26 countries with an employee roster topping 10,000.