KANSAS CITY, Kan. — While many companies have shut down operations because of COVID-19, the pandemic helped save the jobs of more than 100 employees at Procter & Gamble’s Kansas City, Kansas, plant.
In 2018, 280 employees were told the plant, which makes Dawn and Gain dish detergent, would shut down after 115 years. Procter & Gamble said that production would move to West Virginia by 2020. All signs were certainly pointing that way when P&G sold the building.
But on Wednesday, the company confirmed news told to the 125 remaining employees this week.
“We are extending operations at our Kansas City facility until sometime in our 2023-24 Fiscal Year. This is driven by unprecedented demand for the products made in Kansas City,” a Procter & Gamble spokesperson said.
The move saves the jobs of people like Magdalena, an employee at the plant for nine years.
“Right now I’m so happy because they keeping us for three years more,” she said.
But it comes too late for Margaret Solano, who took early retirement and the company’s severance package in July after 22 years at the plant.
“When I first heard about it, I was upset. But then after about 6 hours, I realized things happen for a reason,” Solano said.
She feels worst for longtime Wyandotte County families who uprooted their lives for 3-year contracts to work in West Virginia, who could have stayed here after all.
With more companies announcing closures than extending operations in the pandemic, Solano said she’d advise workers not to panic if corporations announce future layoffs.
“And to corporations, I would say, try to get all your ducks in a row before you start telling people dates and things and letting people go,” she said.
Procter & Gamble is now leasing the building it built and had owned since 1905.