Despite rumors, Johns Manville plant not shutting down

Published 12:00 am Thursday, January 11, 2001

The Natchez Johns Manville plant is operating its usual winter-month schedule and has no plans to shut down because of natural gas prices, the manager said on Thursday.

&uot;This is pretty typical for us,&uot; said Martin Heiskell, plant manager since Dec. 15.

Work at the plant usually slows during the winter, he said, responding to a rumor about plant closure.

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&uot;Workers get nervous because of reduced hours, but we always make it up in the summer when we have to work overtime.&uot;

The Natchez plant, which employs 159 workers, manufactures commercial roof and insulation board and rolled roofing.

Natural gas is one of the resources used to make the board and roofing, and the rising prices of gas have been a concern, Heiskell said. &uot;The prices are hurting everybody; we’re in the same cost struggle that every industry has right now.&uot;

Production costs have increased, and companies have to find ways to pass on the costs in their product prices, he said.

However, slowing down production in winter, which means fewer hours for employees, makes good business sense, Heiskell said.

&uot;There is not as great a demand for the building materials during the winter months, particularly when there is ice and snow, but the demand picks up in the summer.&uot;