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West Fargo business to close, laying off dozens of employees

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WEST FARGO – Trinity Containers plans to permanently close its manufacturing plant here, laying off about 91 employees.

In an email to Mayor Rich Mattern dated Wednesday, April 13, a company official said the company, Trinity Tank Car Inc. at 420 East Main, would shut down starting June 12 and the closing would be complete by July 22.

"It's really sad. They're a huge company and I can only think that one of the reasons they are leaving is perhaps because of what is happening in western North Dakota," Mattern said, referring to the slowdown of oil production in the Bakken. "They were making a lot of containers and things for out there."

Layoffs are expected to begin June 12 and follow on June 24, July 1, July 15 and July 22. Layoffs included skilled welders, assemblers and painters, and one administrative staff member who will stay employed until Nov. 1, the email said.

"There are no bumping rights in this situation and employees should have no expectation of recall," the email said.

In January 2015, the company announced that it was reducing its workforce by 37 employees to about 84. The company said it took the step because it recently completed a long-term order for wind tower structures.

The Trinity Containers site in West Fargo was home to DMI Industries before DMI was sold in October 2012 to Dallas-based Trinity Industries in a $20 million deal that included plants in West Fargo, Tulsa, Okla., and Ontario, Canada. At the height of DMI's success, the company had about 500 employees in total, with 216 of those jobs in West Fargo.

In January 2013, Dallas-based Trinity Industries told city leaders the West Fargo plant would produce containers that can hold 100,000 gallons of products such as water, propane or anhydrous.

At that time, the employee numbers grew from about 40 to more than 75.

Mattern said Wednesday he has contacted officials at Trinity in hopes they could say if the plant will reopen or if the property will be sold.

"I'd really hate to see a facility like that just sit there for a long time and not be sold or anything because it's a pretty good location," Mattern said.

Officials with Trinity could not be reached for comment.

Wendy Reuer

Wendy reports for The Forum and West Fargo Pioneer, where she is also assistant editor. A University of Minnesota Morris graduate from North Dakota, Wendy started her career in television news and entertainment in Minnesota and at CBS in Television City, Calif. before working at newspapers in Minnesota and North Dakota. 

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