August 6, 2008

ContinentalAFA to Shutter St. Peters Operations, Laying Off 236

By Angela Tablac, St. Louis Post-Dispatch

Aug. 6--By Friday, 236 local workers for St. Peters-based -ContinentalAFA Dispensing Co. will be without jobs.

The company -- which makes trigger sprayers, lotion pumps and spray pumps for consumer and industrial products -- notified the state last month that it would shutter its local operations, Michael Waltman, a spokesman for the Missouri Division of Workforce Development, said Tuesday. The privately held company also has a plant in St. Peters.

It's unclear why Continen-tal-AFA is shutting its doors. Calls to several executives were not returned.

St. Peters Mayor Len Pagano said he received a letter from the company two weeks ago that indicated the shutdown but "did not give reasons for (its) closing."

"This is something that is very disturbing to me," Pagano said Tuesday. "Any time you have a closing, it affects a lot of other entities in the community."

Representatives of the state's rapid-response program met with Continental-AFA's employees Thursday and Friday, Waltman said. Workers were given information about finding career training and new jobs.

Other employees, outside of the St. Louis area, also will find themselves out of work by the end of this week.

ContinentalAFA said it will lay off 219 employees at its plant in Forest City, N.C., and 50 workers at a location in Bridgeport, Conn., according to notices filed by the company with those states.

According to Continental-AFA's website, the company has another plant in Costa Rica. However, Costa Rican newspaper Al Dia had reported that the plant laid off around 200 workers two weeks ago. In March, the company closed its facility in El Paso, Texas.

Waltman and Pagano did not know the company's total number of employees.

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