Local legislators meet about KCK Procter and Gamble plant closing in 2020

The Proctor and Gamble manufacturing plant in Kansas City, Kansas, will close in 2020, according to an announcement Wednesday.

State legislators from Wyandotte County called a meeting on Wednesday, Feb. 7, with a national representative of Procter and Gamble after news broke of the Kansas City, Kansas, P&G plant closing in late 2020.

Sen. Pat Pettey, D-6th Dist., called a meeting of the Wyandotte County legislative delegation to discuss the issue. About 280 full-time employees at the plant are affected, as well as an estimated 350 contract workers and suppliers. The dish soap production will move in late 2020 to a new facility at Tabler Station, West Virginia, according to the company’s announcement.

“I was very disappointed to read the announcement,” Sen. Pettey stated. “I do appreciate that they let the employees of P&G be the first to know and that they are giving them a window of over two years to plan.”

The plant has been in Kansas City, Kansas, for about 113 years, according to company officials. Unified Government officials said on Wednesday that they heard about the closing plans for the first time on Tuesday night, and had not been asked about providing options or incentives for staying here.

Company officials said on Wednesday that the decision to close the Kansas City, Kansas, plant was based on a study that was begun in 2013. A P&G spokesman on Wednesday stated that the new production site was being located closer to customers and suppliers.

“We want to do everything we can to make sure the employees are treated fairly and the property is purchased and put back into operation as quickly as possible after P&G leaves,” Sen. Pettey stated. “P&G has been a good community partner; they will be missed.”

Rep. Louis Ruiz, D-31st Dist., said he was concerned about the plant closing, and especially about the protections in place for the employees who work there, involving their rights and severance pay.

He also said he was wondering if sexual harassment issues recently reported at the plant, involving a third-party staffing company at the plant, might have been an underlying factor in why they decided to close the location. Company officials stated Wednesday that the closing decision was based on the logistics and locations concerning the supply chain.

Rep. Ruiz added that he is thankful that the union is in place to protect the employees’ rights during the closing.

A company spokesman on Wednesday stated that it would work with the union and the employees, and if possible, find jobs in other P&G plants for them.

The UG on Wednesday also offered to work with P&G employees to help them find employment in the Kansas City area. The Wyandotte Economic Development Council wants to begin to help market the plant site, and wants to work with Workforce Partnership to identify other employment options, according to Greg Kindle, WEDC president. Kindle stated the job market in the Kansas City area is currently very good. He added that P&G had been a good community partner through the years.

See earlier stories at http://wyandottedaily.com/pg-to-close-manufacturing-plant-in-kck/

Warmer temperatures return today, cold again Friday

Thursday high temperatures (National Weather Service graphic

Warmer temperatures in Wyandotte County will take over on Thursday, with the mercury rising to a high near 48, according to the National Weather Service.

A cold front is expected to push through on Friday, when temperatures will drop from an expected 35 degrees at 11 a.m., falling to about 26 during the rest of the day, the weather service said.

In the early morning hours of Saturday, after 3 a.m., there will be a 30 percent chance of snow, according to the weather service. The chance of snow continues Saturday night.

The weather service said currently there is a lot of uncertainty to snow and ice totals in the region. The forecast amounts and locations should be better known as Saturday approaches, according to the weather service.

Today, there will be sunny skies with a high near 48 and a south southwest wind of 5 to 9 mph, the weather service said.

Tonight, the low will be around 31 with a south southwest wind of 8 to 13 mph, according to the weather service.

Friday, it will be mostly cloudy, with the temperature rising to 35 by 11 a.m., then falling to around 26 during the remainder of the day, the weather service said. A southwest wind of 7 to 13 mph will become north northeast in the afternoon, with winds gusting as high as 21 mph.

Friday night, there is a 30 percent chance of snow, mainly after 3 a.m., according to the weather service. The low will be around 14. A north wind of 11 to 13 mph may gust as high as 20 mph.

Saturday, there will be a high near 21 with a 40 percent chance of snow, the weather service said. A north wind will be around 11 mph.

Saturday night, there will be a 60 percent chance of snow, mainly before midnight, with a low of 12, according to the weather service.

Sunday, it will be mostly sunny with a high of 31, the weather service said.

Sunday night, the low will be around 15 with mostly clear skies, according to the weather service.

Monday, the high will be near 44 with mostly sunny skies, the weather service said.

Friday and Saturday high temperatures (National Weather Service graphic)

Questions and answers with Greg Kindle on the Procter and Gamble plant closing in KCK

The Procter and Gamble manufacturing plant in Kansas City, Kansas, will close in 2020, according to an announcement today.

Greg Kindle, president of the Wyandotte Economic Development Council, responded to some questions from the Wyandotte Daily today about the closing of the 113-year-old Procter and Gamble plant in Kansas City, Kansas.

The plant is scheduled for closing in late 2020, according to a company announcement today.

Question: UG administration says it didn’t know about P&G proposing to move – did you? I wonder why the UG wasn’t asked to provide an alternative bid or a solution of some kind?
Answer: No one at the local level was engaged in the decision made by Procter & Gamble. This was a surprise announcement to us. Our understanding is that this was a corporate decision based on customer location, distribution centers and proximity of their manufacturing facilities.

Question: The company said there were 280 FT jobs affected, and others are reporting an additional 350 contract workers and suppliers. Are there other companies in this metro area that will be affected, do you think? What do you think is a total dollar estimate of the overall economic effect of a plant closure?
Answer: Procter & Gamble has 280 full time employees with many of them being union positions. They have also had up to 350 contract workers that are not technically Procter & Gamble employees. In time, those workers will be redeployed to other companies in the region. We have inquired about the impact to the local supply chain but don’t yet know the full impact. I don’t have an estimate of the economic impact. Keep in mind that the facility will continue operations under the plan presented into 2020. During that time, we will be coordinating with partners like Workforce Partnership and others to identify other employment options and begin marketing the site/facility for a future use. We have a strong manufacturing presence and the need for skilled employees is in high demand. Over the last several years, we have seen a number of new and expanded manufacturing operations in Wyandotte County so we are optimistic for the future.

Question: Do you think other factors were involved besides the ones stated?
Answer: I am not aware of any other factors being involved in the decision.

Question: What do you think, going forward, that KCK will need to do to rebound from this?
Answer: I think we will rebound well. This is certainly not the news we had hoped for but in the larger Wyandotte County economy, there are over 10,000 manufacturing jobs in the community. At any given time there are over 1,500 open jobs in the manufacturing sector – most with very good wages and benefits. The key is making sure we get access to the employees who are staying in the community and connect them to other great companies. And, we will want to get engaged with their corporate real estate team as soon as we can to begin marketing the site for a future use.

Question: KCK has had some new jobs in recent years at the Amazon plant, and they were supposed to be $13 to $15 an hour. How does that compare to the jobs that are at the P&G plant?
Answer: The jobs at Amazon do pay $13 or more plus benefits. Pay at Procter & Gamble is good but I cannot give you that information due to confidentiality.

Question: Do you think P&G employees will be able to get comparable paying jobs in the community here — how is the labor market now?
Answer: Highly skilled employees like those at Procter & Gamble are sought after on a daily basis. Unemployment is at historic lows throughout the region so we do believe that folks should be well positioned to find new employment. Some employees may also choose to relocate to other Procter & Gamble facilities across the country.

I do think it’s worth noting that while we are sad about the decision made by Procter & Gamble, it’s important to also celebrate the 113 years this company and the many employees who have worked at this plant. We should take great pride in the wonderful products that have been produced here over the years. Procter & Gamble at both the corporate level and the employees have been good to the community over the years and that shouldn’t be overlooked. We will move forward and chart a new path for this site – it’s what we do.

To see an earlier story about the Procter and Gamble closing, visit http://wyandottedaily.com/pg-to-close-manufacturing-plant-in-kck/.