Procter & Gamble will shut down operations at KCK plant by 2020

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KANSAS CITY, Kan. -- Procter and Gamble announced Wednesday that they will close the doors of their Kansas City, Kan., plant and move operations to West Virginia by late 2020.

Hundreds of employees in Kansas City, Kan., were told to go home Tuesday around 2:30 p.m., but asked to return at 8 a.m. Wednesday for a meeting. During that meeting company officials announced that they will transfer production of 'Our Dish Care' business from KCK to Talber Station, W.Va. They also announced that they will transfer business from their Iowa City, Iowa plant to West Virginia.

"Decisions like this are never easy, but we are communicating this decision more than two years in advance to help our employees plan for the future," a spokesperson for the company said in a news release. "We are committed to supporting P&G people through the transition in a manner consistent with our values and principles."

Procter and Gamble said they will negotiate with the local labor union regarding support to help about 280 local employees transition to other positions either within the company or somewhere else.

John Luschen

“It gives us time to figure out where we’re going to go and where we’re going to move from here and plan,” said John Luschen, who has been with the company for 18 years.  “It’s a lot better than coming to a closed door.”

Procter and Gamble is opening a new, much bigger manufacturing center in West Virginia, and the company says it will move production of Dawn, Gain and other dishwashing liquids currently made in Kansas to the more modern plant.

As part of the Wyandotte County manufacturing base for more than 100 years, this plant had been Procter and Gamble's oldest operating factory, outside of the company's recent acquisition of Gillette.

Many workers say they feared the end was near for production in KCK.

Procter and Gamble hired generations of families who have worked inside, and some say they will explore opportunities to continue to work for the company at other locations.

"A lot of them will have options because there are other sites," said Bob, a longtime Procter and Gamble worker who hopes to retire with the company. "We’ve got sites all over the country, all over the world, and there will be openings in other places. They could use some good experienced technicians."

Chemical manufacturing in KCK also will be transferred to another Procter and Gamble plant in Cincinnati.

Workers at the plant are represented by the International Oil and Chemical Workers union. And as one of Procter and Gamble's few unionized plants, some believe that also may have been a factor in this decision.

When Colgate Palmolive shut down it's soap plant down the street a few years ago, another company came in and continued operations.

Some workers are hopeful that something similar could happen again when Procter and Gamble leaves.

Just last week hundreds of Harley-Davidson employees learned that the giant motorcycle maker, will close its Kansas City assembly plant in 2019. Some of the plant's present employees will have the option to follow Harley to Pennsylvania, where those jobs are being relocated.

Read the full statement from Procter and Gamble below: 

We shared with employees today that we will transfer production of Our Dish Care business from our site in Kansas City, Kansas to our new facility at Tabler Station, West Virginia. This is planned to be complete by mid-2020 and will result in the closure of the Kansas City plant in late 2020.

Decisions like this are never easy, but we are communicating this decision more than two years in advance to help our employees plan for the future. We are committed to supporting P&G people through the transition in a manner consistent with our values and principles.

We will negotiate with the local labor union regarding support to help employees transition to opportunities, whether that be transfers to other P&G sites or beyond P&G.

For additional context, today’s announcement is the result of a study started in 2013 across our North American supply network to help us more efficiently and effectively serve retailers and consumers across the country. The new site is being master-planned to be a large, multi-category facility much bigger than the Kansas City plant, with strategic suppliers co-located on site, closer to three mega-distribution centers and presenting significant scale opportunities to develop solutions for channels and customers across categories that would not be feasible/ cost effective for smaller sites.

Additional information shared with employees today:

  • Our Hair Care (shampoo and conditioner) and Personal Cleansing (body wash) businesses will transfer from our site in Iowa City, Iowa to our new facility at Tabler Station, West Virginia. These transfers will be completed in late 2020.
  • As a result of these decisions, the estimate of full-time P&G employees at our new site in Tabler Station, West Virginia will increase from 700 to 900 by 2020.