Silgan plant appears to be open again in Modesto

01/27/2014 7:59 PM

01/27/2014 10:46 PM

Can makers apparently are returning to a Silgan Containers Corp. plant in Modesto after a nearly seven-week lockout by management.

The company could not be reached for comment Monday, but a production line could be seen in action from just outside the facility on Riverside Drive.

The Teamsters local representing the workers also could not be reached.

The company, based in Stamford, Conn., locked out the workers Dec. 11 amid a dispute over pay.

Before that, union leaders said, the skilled trade workers there earned about $23 to $27 per hour and nonskilled employees made about $14.

Silgan had proposed freezing wages for two years, but the workers said they deserved at least a 1 percent raise. Details on pay going forward were not available Monday.

There are three Silgan plants in Modesto and one in Riverbank, and all have separate union contracts.

Locked-out workers said they were making less in pay and benefits than people at the other sites.

The company is a key part of the region’s tomato and fruit canning industries. The Riverside Drive plant, part of the Beard Industrial District, makes about 200 million cans a year.

Silgan’s website says it is “the largest manufacturer of metal food containers in North America, with an overall share of approximately half of the market in 2012.”

The company sold $2.29 billion worth of metal containers in North America and Europe in 2012 and reported record earnings during 2013.

Silgan, a publicly traded company, launched in 1987 and has acquired 29 container manufacturing companies.

The Riverside Drive plant has had several owners, including California Home Brands, PanCan, Continental Can, PackCan, American National Can and Silgan.

Its main customer is Stanislaus Food Products, a tomato cannery with operations in the Beard district and downtown Modesto.

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