Benton Harbor's Modern Plastics to shut down production

By: Marcie Kobriger Email
By: Marcie Kobriger Email

A business that has called Benton Harbor home for more than 70 years has announced it's closing down.

From automotive ashtrays to car spoilers, and even hospital equipment, Modern Plastics molded it and made it all.

But with increasing economic pressures, the plastics manufacturer has melted down. About 100 employees received news Monday that, come Tuesday, they're not needed.

Oil prices are a major factor, since all plastics are petroleum based. Vice President Robert Orlaske says their buyers weren't willing or able to match the bottom line.

“We had to pass on price increases to our customers, and a lot of them wouldn’t take it, so they shopped other places for moving their work. And a lot of them have chosen to go to China or Mexico where the labor is a lot cheaper,” Orlaske tells NewsCenter 16.

The company says they'll do all they can for the people who've labored for them. They'll hold meetings with their employees this week to help them find new jobs and get them job training.

Company leaders are in negotiations to sell the Coloma plant. If the sale goes through, it's likely that most if not all of the current employees at that plant will keep their jobs.

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