Business

Procter & Gamble to keep shampoo and other operations in Iowa City

Cincinnati company had announced moving those production lines to West Virginia

Thursday's decision could see more jobs being added to the Iowa City plant, the consumer goods company says. Procter and
Thursday’s decision could see more jobs being added to the Iowa City plant, the consumer goods company says. Procter and Gamble is seen in February 2018. (Rebecca F. Miller/The Gazette)

Procter & Gamble said Thursday it would keep its shampoo, conditioner and body wash production lines in Iowa City — a shift from the company’s announcement in 2018 that it intended to move those lines, and hundreds of jobs, to West Virginia.

This decision could see more jobs being added to the Iowa City plant, the Cincinnati-based consumer goods company said in a news release.

The Iowa City facility today employs more than 300, according to P&G.

“Over the past two years, Procter & Gamble has been conducting a variety of studies to help determine the future of our Iowa City plant,” Jason Jackson, P&G Iowa City Beauty Care plant manager, said in a news release.

“One thing’s become obvious to us — we need both Iowa City and our Tabler Station (W.Va.) plants to meet the emerging needs of our North America business.”

As a result of the decision, P&G said it will maintain some hair care operations at the site in addition to its Oral Rinse production.

“The site will produce a diverse mix of products — some existing and some new forms to support innovation plans. The company anticipates to add more job opportunities at the Iowa City site ...,” the company said in the release.

Ercia Nobel, P&G global senior communications leader, told The Gazette in an email Thursday that, “specific equipment and organization design are still being finalized, so we are not yet able to comment in detail on specific roles. Our Tabler Station facility in West Virginia remains a key pillar of the supply system moving forward.

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“However, the needs of the North America hair care business have evolved over the past couple of years — and that requires our supply chain to also evolve,” Noble wrote.

Elizabeth Hubing, Iowa City Area Development Group communications director, added P&G’s evaluations had determined the Iowa City workforce “is very adaptable” and quick “to learn new innovations.”

In mid-March, a P&G Iowa City facility employee was sent home for two weeks after reporting contact with a COVID-19 patient, according to company emails to employees. That worker later tested positive.

Eleven other employees who had come in contact with that employee also later were sent home. P&G in response started screening personnel upon arrival for work and issuing them masks.

In its Thursday statement, the multinational company said that, “Along with implementing additional safety procedures at its plants, P&G has shifted to producing face masks and hand sanitizer at multiple sites. The Iowa City Beauty Care plant has now produced over 200 drums of hand sanitizer.”

Some of that production, the company noted, has been donated to area hospitals and the Johnson County Emergency Management Agency.

“Iowa City’s strong culture of innovation and our community’s workforce is a perfect match for P&G’s new innovation plans,” Kate Moreland, president of ICAD, said in the release. “We’re happy that they will be maintaining some of their operations in our community, and look forward to being a part of the company’s future innovations.”

Comments: (319) 398-8307; michaelchevy.castranova@thegazette.com

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