Owens Corning told its 145 employees here Tuesday that the plant will close Dec. 21.

Owens Corning told its 145 employees here Tuesday that the plant will close Dec. 21.

“It’s a bad thing right now, right before Christmas,” said Mark Reidenbach, who has worked at the plant for 11 years making stone veneers from composite materials for applications such as the front of homes and fireplaces.

“They had all of us come in this morning and told us on Jan. 4, we’re done,” he said.

A company spokesman said workers will be paid until Jan. 4 because of the 60-day notice of mass layoffs or plant closings required under the federal Worker Adjustment Retraining Notification Act.

Owens spokesman Jason Saragian said the plant is the result of the slow national housing market and the forecast for that to continue into 2008.

“Owens Corning is taking actions that position our capacity and cost structure for the weaker market in 2008,” he said.

The plant closing, which also includes a warehousing operation in Dover, is part of $100 million in cutbacks the company said would be targeted in its third-quarter earnings announcement. The cuts were not detailed in the earnings report.

Saragian said customer orders will be filled by facilities in Chester, S.C., and Napa, Calif.

“For the people affected ... we realize this is a very significant event and are treating it as such,” he said.

Reidenbach said part of the severance package the company is offering includes a week’s pay for each year of service. Details of medical benefits will be provided later. He was making $15.35 an hour plus benefits.

The plant was closed Tuesday afternoon, but will be open again today, Reidenbach said.

“They let everyone go home today because of dropping this bomb on us.”

Owens Corning emerged from Chapter 11 bankruptcy in October 2006. It sought bankruptcy protection in 2000, citing among other things, medical liabilities due to the company’s use of asbestos as a fireproofing agent.

Reach Repository Business Editor Pat Kelley at (330) 580-8323 or e-mail pat.kelley@cantonrep.com