American Greetings to lay off 150

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By Randy Patrick

The American Greetings plant in Bardstown will lay off about 150 employees this year, a company spokeswoman confirmed Wednesday.

Patrice Molnar, director of communications for the greeting card manufacturer’s corporate headquarters in Cleveland, said in an interview that the announcement was made to the plant’s employees on Tuesday that beginning in mid-March, it would lay off an estimated 64 people, and 86 more within the following 90 days.

“This is due to a volume loss in Bardstown,” Molnar said, referencing the local plant’s loss of an account with Dollar Tree, a discount store chain that sells American Greetings cards.

It has nothing to do with declining card sales in general, she noted, adding, “the industry remains stable.”

However, according to an article in USA Today Dec. 28, stationary product manufacturing declined 42.2 percent between 2007 and 2016. The article mentions that American Greetings, one of the world’s largest card makers, has closed dozens of retail stores, and after more than 40 years on the stock market, was taken private in 2013.

Asked whether the workers were actually being fired or would be eligible to return to their jobs if production picks up again, she responded: “It’s a layoff. Currently, it’s expected that the layoffs will be permanent.”

The Bardstown plant’s employees are represented by the Teamsters Union, but responding to a rumor that the company is moving jobs to non-union plants, she said, there are no plans for any transfers.

Johnny Bolton, a representative for Teamsters Local 89, could not be reached for comment by The Kentucky Standard’s noon deadline on Thursday.

Michelle DeJohn, employer customer services branch manager at the Kentucky Career Center’s office in Frankfort, said Wednesday she had not yet received a WARN notice as required under the federal Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act of 1988.

“I have not received anything official yet,” DeJohn said, adding that the company has until 60 days before the layoffs to provide the notice to the state.

According to Molnar, the American Greetings plant in Bardstown employed 450 people. In 2016, it was one of the county’s top 10 employers, according to the Nelson County Economic Development Agency.