Field Container To Go East

April 12, 1994|By Ross Hetrick | Ross Hetrick,Sun Staff Writer

Field Container Co. L.P., a major paper-box company based in Elk Grove Village, Ill., plans to move its Eastfield Division from South Baltimore to Salisbury in August.

The move will eliminate 100 manufacturing jobs in Baltimore, but create 150 jobs in the economically hard-hit Eastern Shore city.

The move comes after a two-year search by the company for a new location that would accommodate an expanded operation and meet the standards of the American Institute of Baking, according to Michael S. Nussbaum, the company's president and chief operating officer. Such certification is important because it provides boxes to many food companies, he said.

"We spent a lot of time looking in the Baltimore area and even Pennsylvania," Mr. Nussbaum said, but Salisbury "was the most desirable."

The new plant is in a state enterprise zone, which means the plant's property taxes will be cut by 80 percent for the first five years and then gradually increase to normal levels over the following five years, said David J. Ryan, director of Salisbury-Wicomico Economic Development Inc.

The new jobs are particularly welcomed in Salisbury, which saw the loss of hundreds of jobs with the closing of the Campbell Soup Co. plant last summer and work force reductions at the Grumman Corp. plant. The city has an unemployment rate of 10.5 percent, one of the highest in the state, Mr. Ryan said.

Field Container is one of the country's largest manufacturers of folding paperboard boxes, recycled paper products and printing inks. It is a privately held company and said it had sales of about $400 million last year.

The Baltimore operation, located at 1501 Russell St. and owned by Field Container since 1981, makes boxes for food products, frozen foods, hardware and clothing. Some of its customers include Nestle, General Mills and Quaker Oats, according to Timothy E. Eunice, president and general manager of the Eastfield Division.

About 10 to 15 workers at the Baltimore plant will be laid off in the next two weeks and the rest will be dismissed in August, he said.

Most of the 13 salaried workers will be transferred to the new location, he said. About 100 hourly workers, who make an average wage of $9.25 a hour, have the option of applying for jobs in Salisbury, Mr. Eunice said.

The operation also is adopting a new name -- the Salisbury Division -- and shedding its union, Local 799 of the United Paperworkers of America.

Roosevelt Jordan, a local representative for the union, was not available for comment.

Field Container will spend $8.6 million on the new plant, $1.8 million of which will be used to purchase the building, another $1 million to make improvements and the rest to buy new equipment, Mr. Eunice said.

The plant will be in a 103,000-square-foot building on 18 acres in the Northwood Industrial Park.

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