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Coca-Cola layoffs not expected to affect local operations

January 26, 2000|By KERRY LYNN FRALEY

A massive layoff announced Wednesday by Atlanta-based Coca-Cola will have "virtually no effect" on Hagerstown Coca-Cola workers, the head of the company's local bottling operation said Wednesday afternoon.

The world's largest soft drink maker said it will lay off 6,000 employees in the United States and abroad as part of a $300 million cost savings and restructuring.

Those employees won't come from Hagerstown, which has three Coca-Cola facilities, said William Onnen, production center manager at Central Coca-Cola Bottling Co.'s bottling plant in Hagerstown.

"That's Coca-Cola USA," Onnen said. "In fact, we're going just the reverse of Coca-Cola USA."

The plant at Charles and Jonathan streets - where Coke, Diet Coke, Sprite and other Coca-Cola products are bottled - is to add a second shift around March 1, he said.

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That means 12 to 15 new jobs on top of the roughly 35 workers there now, Onnen said.

Employment at the bottling plant has been between 30 and 35 workers, depending on the time of the year, he said.

There are two other Coca-Cola facilities in Hagerstown: a distribution center at Top Flight Air Park, where products from the bottling plant are shipped for distribution to sales centers, and a sales center on Western Maryland Parkway, Onnen said.

The sales center employs 54 workers, according to the 1999 business and industry guide published by the Hagerstown-Washington County Economic Development Commission.

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