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AGC Flat Glass to lay off 100 employees at Kingsport's Blue Ridge Plant

Sharon Hayes • Feb 9, 2009 at 12:00 AM

AGC Flat Glass North America will temporarily lay off 100 employees at its Blue Ridge Plant in Kingsport, the company announced Monday.

Chris Correnti, AGC vice president, general counsel and secretary, said the Kingsport plant, which manufactures pattern glass for the solar industry, serves much of the export market.

“And unfortunately the demand has fallen worldwide, and expectations are that it won’t come back in the near future,” Correnti said.

The affected employees are expected to receive pink slips in the next seven to 10 days. Correnti said the company hopes to recall those workers within six to nine months, or “certainly within the next year,” depending on business conditions.

“This is a global problem, and the Kingsport plant is a global player. When all the global markets are suffering like we are, it affects us,” Correnti said.

“But it will come back. And we’re hopeful we’ll be able to bring these folks back to work soon.”

Following the layoff, the Blue Ridge Plant will employ about 280 people.

Meanwhile, AGC also announced Monday it will permanently close its West Virginia factory due to declining demand. The Jerry Run plant in Bridgeport produced glass for the automotive industry.

Company officials in late January said they would place the plant on “hot hold,” and production would resume once demand increased. At that time, AGC planned to retain about 60 of the plant’s 240 employees to maintain operations during the “hot hold” status.

However, Correnti said Monday the company has decided to shutter the facility altogether.

“It will be totally closed. And all those laid off will be terminated,” Correnti said.

He said 40 to 50 people are still working at the plant, and those employees will lose their jobs over the next several months.

Headquartered in Alpharetta, Ga., AGC has seven primary flat glass manufacturing plants in North America, including its Blue Ridge Plant in Kingsport and its Greenland Plant in Church Hill.

AGC manufactures glass for the building products industry at its Church Hill plant. Last spring, the company shut down one of two production lines at the facility and laid off about 250 people.

Earlier this year, AGC laid off more than 30 employees at the Church Hill plant.

AGC Chief Executive Officer Brad Kitterman has said the company is investing in a coater at the Church Hill facility to allow it to produce a broader range of coated products. Kitterman said he also hopes to restart the plant’s second line but hasn’t received formal approval from the company’s board of directors.

“But we are still working toward that, and I think it’s a good likelihood that it will happen in 2010,” Kitterman said.

AGC employs about 250 at the Greenland plant. The company also operates a coating facility in Abingdon, employing 80 people there.

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