The WestRock packaging plant on Bransford Street off River Avenue...

The WestRock packaging plant on Bransford Street off River Avenue in Patchogue.  Credit: Tom Lambui

The paper and packaging producer WestRock Co. will close its Patchogue plant in October and lay off 70 employees, according to a state filing.

The WARN notice filed with the state Department of Labor cited “business reasons” as the cause  of the shutdown of the facility off River Avenue.  

The plant closing is part of the Atlanta-based company's “footprint optimization effort,” company spokesman Robby Johnson said in an email Monday. 

“Most closing activities will be completed by mid-October," he said, but added that the time frame for the dismissals was undetermined.  The WARN filing states that layoffs are expected to begin Jan. 5. 

 The workers are not represented by a union, the WARN notice said.

WestRock has 300 production facilities and 58,000 employees worldwide, and produces "sustainable, fiber-based packaging solutions," according to its website. The company has about 1,000 employees in New York state, Johnson said.

The Patchogue plant is part of WestRock's "multi packaging solutions" division, which "focuses on serving health care and high-end consumer markets — including confectionary, cosmetics and premium spirits — and media packaging — including folding cartons, labels, inserts and rigid packaging," according to a company website. 

Earlier this month, WestRock announced a deal to merge with Smurfit Kappa, a Dublin, Ireland-based packaging giant. The combination, to be called Smurfit WestRock, could become the world’s largest publicly traded packaging company, with revenues estimated at $34 billion.

Recently, WestRock has streamlined operations with the closings of other U.S. plants, including a paper mill in South Carolina, a containerboard mill in Florida and a recycled corrugated paper mill in Minnesota. 

The company has three other operations on Long Island: two facilities in the multi packaging solutions division, in Hicksville and Farmingdale, and a corrugated packaging plant in Deer Park.  The three sites had a total of 337 employees, according to a 2021 government relations report by the company. 

In 2017, WestRock shuttered a Wheatley Heights facility and laid off 152 employees. 

With Caroline Curtin


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