Dow Texas unit lays off 350 workers - union

12 February 2009 23:10  [Source: ICIS news]

(adds Dow comments paragraphs 3, 6)

HOUSTON (ICIS news)--Dow Chemical has laid off 350 full-time workers at its Freeport plant in Texas, a union representative said on Thursday.

The layoffs should be completed by the end of the month, said Charlie Singletary, business manager for the International Union of Operating Engineers 564.

Tracie Copeland, Dow spokesperson, confirmed the 350 layoffs.

In addition, Dow did say it would eliminate 40 jobs in closing its Poly 2 low density polyethylene (LDPE) plant in Freeport by the end of March. The company did not state whether those layoffs would be part of the 350 figure.

Singletary, though, said he thought the job losses from the LDPE unit's closing were in addition to the February cutbacks. "I do not think the polyethylene layoffs were a part of that calculation," he said.

Regarding the 40 employees, Copeland said Dow was "very hopeful" it could find them jobs at other sites.

Singletary said 50 of his union members were included in the February layoffs. All accepted buyouts from Dow, he added.

A report in the Brazoria County Facts newspaper on Thursday said Dow's Freeport complex, which comprises 75 plants, ran at about 35% capacity in December and increased to 60% by late January.

The paper cited an e-mail from Freeport site manager Gary Hockstra, stating that the plant would continue operating at decreased production levels through March 31.

In December, Dow said it would eliminate 5,000 full-time jobs, 6,000 contractors and close 20 facilities in high-cost locations across the company.

For more on Dow's Freeport, Texas plant, visit ICIS plants and projects
For more on PE, visit ICIS chemical intelligence
To discuss issues facing the chemical industry go to ICIS connect

By: Lane Kelley
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