APPLE GROVE — As news about the reported, impending cessation of production activities at the M&G Polymers Plant began to spread across the community Tuesday, more elected officials chimed in.
“I am disappointed to hear of this closure,” U.S. Senator Joe Manchin (D) said. “I assure everyone impacted by this news that I’ll be in touch with company and local officials to see if there’s anything we can do. Saving and creating jobs are my top priorities, and I will continue fighting to keep West Virginians working.”
A member of Manchin’s staff estimated there were around 100 hourly employees and 40 salaried employees who could be directly impacted.
State Senator Mitch Carmichael (R), president of the state senate, said: “Upon learning of this unfortunate news, I immediately reached out to the state development office and the governor’s office to explore every available option (to save the plant and jobs). While these efforts do not always result in success, the state government will stand with the workers.”
Carmichael said the first priority is to save the jobs and if that can’t be done, then government needs to support alternative employment options for the workers and re-purpose the site. Still, “continuing operations” is the focus right now, Carmichael stressed.
Carmichael’s counterpart in the state senate, Mark Drennan (R), recently was appointed to Mike Hall’s former seat when Hall was appointed as Gov. Jim Justice’s chief of staff.
Drennan’s father actually worked at the plant when it was owned by Goodyear, and Drennen himself worked there for five summers while he was pursuing his undergraduate degree.
“From 1990-1995 I worked there,” he said. “I got to know a lot of people there…it’s a first-class operation and they’ve always done good work.”
Drennan was disappointed with the news and said he would be in contact with Carmichael and local officials about anything that can be done to save the jobs.
On Tuesday, Drennan and Delegate Scott Brewer (D) of the 13th District, the latter of which is a resident and native of Mason County, were attending an open house at Toyota Motor Manufacturing West Virginia. Toyota announced it will invest $115.3 million in its Buffalo facility to produce the first American-made transaxles for hybrid cars.
“Although not physically a part of the Fourteenth Delegate District, I have major concerns over the recent announcement by M&G Polymers to cease operations and lay off approximately 100 employees,” Brewer said. “This will certainly be devastating to Mason County and the surrounding area. So at Tuesdays announcement by Toyota Motor Manufacturing of West Virginia to begin production of transaxles for hybrid engines, I took the opportunity to ask plant manager Leah Curry if they have any plans to hire any additional workers. Unfortunately, she doesn’t think Toyota will require additional forces to staff the new line. While at Toyota, I also had the opportunity to voice the concerns of Mason County to Governor Jim Justice and Commerce Secretary Woody Thrasher along with representatives of Senators Manchin and Capito. All say they’re doing everything they can to support the M&G Apple Grove plant.”
It’s estimated a chemical plant on the current site of M&G Polymers plant has had a steady presence in Mason County, despite changes in ownership, since the late 1950’s.
M&G Chemicals’ parent group is Mossi Ghisolfi Group, founded in 1953 in Italy, which has been operating in the plastic processing industry for 60 years, according to the company’s website. M&G Chemicals is a Group of companies focused on the production of PET resins and engineering for the construction of plants in several industries.
Beth Sergent is editor of Ohio Valley Publishing.