Bemis in New London laying off up to 110 workers
Move follows company’s acquisition by Amcor
By Scott Bellile
New London’s former Bemis plant will lay off up to a fifth of its workforce following the company’s sale to Australia-based Amcor.
The flexible packaging producer plans to eliminate 70 to 110 production and manufacturing positions at the New London facility, 718 High St., due to “[m]anufacturing relocation related to production costs,” Amcor Communications Director Mark Hein told the Press Star Friday, June 14.
“As a normal course of business, Bemis Company regularly reviewed costs across its labor network and made production adjustments and/or reallocated production to more cost-effective locations to provide customers competitive, high-quality products. That is what is happening here,” Hein stated in an email.
The layoffs will occur sometime during the second half of 2019, Hein said.
There are no plans to close New London’s Amcor facility, which currently employs just over 500 workers, he said.
Amcor will have openings available for displaced workers at its Fox Valley area facilities, Hein said.
“It is always in the company’s best interest to retain top talent that is trained and familiar with our business,” Hein said. “To that end, we will be working with employees who are interested in transferring to available positions at one of our other facilities across Neenah, Oshkosh and Appleton.”
News of the job cuts was first reported by the Appleton Post-Crescent, which reported receiving from an employee internal documents, dated June 4, that were posted inside the plant.
Mayor Gary Henke told the Press Star the news is “surprising” and “disappointing,” and he feels for the employees and their families.
Amcor purchased Neenah-based Bemis for $6.8 billion and officially took ownership on Tuesday, June 11.
In May, the U.S. Justice Department ordered Amcor to divest three manufacturing facilities in Milwaukee, Madison and Massachusetts, before proceeding with the sale.
The Justice Department stated that without divestiture, the acquisition would “eliminate competition between two of only three significant suppliers of three medical packaging products that are critical to the safe transportation and use of medical devices,” thereby raising prices.
Amcor’s sales totaled $9 billion in 2018. Bemis’ sales were about half that, $4 billion.
Howard Curler and Robert Woods founded Curwood Inc. in New London in 1958 to produce clear polyethylene film for packaging. They sold the company to Bemis in 1965.