Meadville Tribune

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September 14, 2007

PPG workers express concern about their futures



By Keith Gushard

Meadville Tribune

GREENWOOD TOWNSHIP — Apprehension and worry about the future have occupied Roland Turner’s thoughts since PPG Industries announced Thursday it was selling its automotive glass businesses.

“Everybody’s bummed out and down,” said Turner, 61, of Cochranton, as he left PPG’s flat-glass making plant in Greenwood Township on Friday morning. He is a furnace operator at the plant and has worked there 37 years.

Turner and his 256 co-workers aren’t the only ones worried. The plant has an annual economic impact of $51 million on Crawford County, according to a 1998 economic study done by PPG.

On Thursday, Pittsburgh-based PPG announced it would sell its automotive glass businesses to Platinum Equity of Beverly Hills, Calif., for $500 million. The Crawford County plant is a part of that deal. Glass made here is used by automakers and other PPG plants to fabricate windshields and side and rear windows for vehicles.

PPG was selling its Meadville and eight other glass-making plants because the automotive glass business “did not meet the performance standard for businesses in our portfolio,” said Betsy Mallison Bialosky, a company spokeswoman.

Perry Johnson, local plant manager, declined to talk about the Meadville plant Friday, saying he didn’t know any more than the statement issued by PPG headquarters Thursday.

Officials of Platinum Equity have declined to talk about what may happen to Meadville or the eight other PPG glass manufacturing and fabrication plants it’s buying until the deal is completed.

It’s the uncertainty of the situation that has Turner and his co-workers concerned.

“You don’t know what to expect,” he said. “You don’t know what’s going on.”

“Some are worried,” said Tim Mudger of Espyville, a five-year employee at the plant who does industrial maintenance. “They don’t know that the future holds.”

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