Milford-area lawmakers working to help shuttered bottling plant workers

BY: Zachary Comeau, Worcester Business Journal, February 5, 2018

State Sen. Ryan Fattman (R-Sutton) and State Rep. Brian Murray (D-Milford) are working with the state Department of Career Services to give workers at the Ardagh Group's Milford bottling plant the assistance they need, the two lawmakers said in a statement.

If efforts to prevent the closure of a beer bottle plant and the loss of 250 jobs are not successful, Milford's legislative delegation on Beacon Hill is working to help those workers with relocation and job training.

State Sen. Ryan Fattman (R-Sutton) and State Rep. Brian Murray (D-Milford) are working with the state Department of Career Services to give workers at the Ardagh Group's Milford bottling plant the assistance they need, the two lawmakers said in a statement.

The DCS Rapid Response Team will provide reemployment services, like job counseling, onsite unemployment assistance and health care information.

The team will provide other job opportunities and retraining via the Massachusetts Career Center system.

"We really need to do everything possible to assist the employees to find alternative employment opportunities in light of this unfortunate decision by Ardagh, which will have such a negative and devastating impact on them and their families," Murray said in the statement.

The company, based in Luxemborg, announced the 1.2-million-square-foot plant's closure last month, citing a decline in demand from the mass beer market in the U.S.

The company had been operating the plant for less than a decade. The Ardagh Group purchased French multinational Saint-Gobain's subsidiary Verallia North American for $1.7 billion in 2013. The Milford plant was operated by Verallia.

Milford and Verallia in 2009 agreed to a 20-year tax increment finance agreement during tough economic times, Murray recalled via phone Monday morning.

Saint-Gobain "said it was necessary for their economic survival, so we worked with them, went to bat for them and got it approved," he said.

When reached by phone, Fattman said he organized a Senate listening tour at the factory last March, at which company representatives said they were concerned about some pending legislation that may hurt business, but said nothing about a possible closure.

Fattman said he was informed of the closure the day before the news broke last month, but the company could not be convinced to reconsider.

"It was a little disappointing that we were not reached out to beforehand," Fattman said.


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