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3M plant to close in W.Va.

November 07, 1998|By RICHARD F. BELISLE

MIDDLEWAY, W.Va. - The 3M plant in Middleway will close on Feb. 1, putting its last 17 employees out of work, a company spokeswoman said Friday.

The plant, which once had a work force of more than 260 people, had been in operation for nearly 40 years.

Marie Auvin, in 3M's corporate headquarters in Minneapolis, Minn., said the Middleway plant makes sheets of high-tensile titanium matrix used mainly in military planes for the Defense Department. It also makes aluminum matrix sheets for commercial markets.

She said it's doubtful if the company will continue with its shrinking military market, but the aluminum matrix operation will be moved to 3M plants in Minnesota.

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Employees are being offered severance packages and help in finding new jobs, Auvin said.

The plant opened during World War II to make blankets for the war effort. 3M, which stands for Minnesota Mining and Manufacturing, bought it in 1959. Two years later it began making products for the printing industry with about 60 employees.

In 1996. Imation, a 3M subsidiary, took over most of the plant to make computer-related equipment for the printing industry. 3M continued to lease manufacturing space from Imation for its matrix operations.

In July of this year Imation announced that it would shut down its operation by the end of December, a move that would affect the jobs of 180 workers, many of whom were offered separation packages and early retirement.

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