Grand Rapids Plastics to Lay off 85 Workers

Monday, Feb 29, 2016

Following the loss of a contract with its main customer, plastic injection molder Grand Rapids Plastics Inc. will permanently lay off 85 people.

According to a notice filed with the state, Grand Rapids Plastics found out on Feb. 18 that its main customer, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles LLC (FCA), was cancelling its contracts with the company.

“Grand Rapids Plastics reached out to FCA seeking clarification on FCA’s intended actions, but FCA confirmed that all orders would cease immediately. As FCA is the main customer for the Grand Rapids campus, FCA’s actions result in the need for permanent layoffs that were previously announced as indefinite and temporary in nature,” the company stated in a letter to Michigan Workforce Development Agency. “Unfortunately, this sudden, dramatic and unexpected action was unforeseeable, without notice and outside of Grand Rapids Plastics’ control.”

Grand Rapids Plastics said the layoffs would occur in two waves, with employees being terminated within two weeks of Feb. 24 and May 6.

Last year, the Michigan Occupational Safety and Health Administration (MIOSHA) fined Grand Rapids Plastics $558,000 for safety violations uncovered following a series of investigations resulting from the June 27, 2014 death of a worker.

The employee was crushed inside an injection molding machine “because the employer did not enforce the use of lockout on the machine prior to employee entry into the mold cavity area to clean the molds.

The machine was left in automatic mode while the employee was inside, and another employee cycled the machine,” according to a MIOSHA case briefing.

MIOSHA issued 32 serious citations, nine willful-serious citations, and 14 other-than-serious citations as a result of the investigations.


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