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Owens-Illinois Closes Glass Manufacturing Facility in Clarion, Pennsylvania

Owens-Illinois, a glass manufacturer, will close its Clarion, Pennsylvania production plant on July 1, according to the Associated Press. The facility had been one of the city's top employers for 105 years. The closure will affect 420 employees.

The plant closure "has nothing to do with the employees or their performance," said company spokesperson Kristie Martin.

In 2007, Owens-Illinois established a "strategic footprint initiative," which resulted in consolidation of operations. Other plants have also been closed, including one in Charlotte, Michigan that employed 140 people, and a furnace plant in Oakland, California that eliminated 200 of 400 positions. The company said the Clarion facility is one of its most expensive due to dated infrastructure.

After Clarion University and Clarion Hospital, Owens-Illinois was the county's biggest employer, and the largest manufacturing outfit.

Now Clarion officials and residents worry that the closure could financially devastate the city. Twenty-four of the plant's 420 employees live in Clarion, and those commuters now have no reason to travel to or spend money in Clarion. The town could also lose up to $270,000 annually in local government revenue.

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