HUBBARD, Ohio (WKBN) – It’s been a major employer in Hubbard for the last 60 years and has had several names but on Monday, steelworkers at BWAY clocked out for the last time.
The plant has been around for decades and while there were lots of smiles and laughs on Monday, the United Steelworkers are disappointed to see it go.
“Emotions, like a rollercoaster,” said Norman Blue, who has worked at the plant for 42 years.
“It’s just a shame that they would do this,” said the union’s vice president, Bob Backes.
That disappointment was a theme amongst union members on their last day on the job.
In May, BWAY announced it was closing the plant just one month after buying it. Some workers said they saw it coming.
“They said they were going to lease the building for a year. So when you said you’d lease the building for a year, I couldn’t see how that would be long-term. I had a feeling that was going to happen,” Blue said.
But that didn’t make it any easier.
“Did they really buy us to close us?” questioned the union’s financial secretary, Don Fusselman.
Backes said the plant was more than just an employer — it was a family legacy.
“It’s been a source of income to my father to feed me when I was young, and for myself.”
Backes said because he planned to retire this February, the news wasn’t overwhelming.
Others aren’t quite ready to leave. Blue said he’s devastated.
“When you plan things out, as far as getting close to retirement, and then everything is uprooted.”
It will be a dramatic change for him since he’s gotten up to go to the same job for just over four decades.
“At least I knew I had something to do. Now it’s like a void in your life,” Blue said.
A void these workers are now looking to fill as they leave the plant for the last time.