Bemis says it will close its factory in Newark and idle 124 workers, a reminder that employment cutbacks still haunt the Bay Area manufacturing sector. The company makes packaging products and other materials.
Bemis wants to shift production from smaller plants such as the one in Newark to a reduced number of factories that each tend to be larger and employ hundreds of people.
"This is part of a larger optimization initiative at Bemis," says Kristine Pavletich, a spokeswoman for the company. "These plans are expected to substantially improve efficiencies and reduce operating costs."
"This decision has nothing to do with the quality of the location, the work being done there or the processes in Newark," Pavletich adds.
However, East Bay labor officials said they were told by Bemis that overseas competitors had begun to squeeze the packaging manufacturer.
"Bemis said they had a lot of price competition," says Huong Tran, an employment expert with the Alameda County Workforce Investment Board. "A lot of their customers were getting their packaging done in other countries, such as China."
Source: Contra Costa Times