Saturday, November 22, 2008

Please say a Prayer for my Sister and her Family

My parents called me on Friday afternoon and told me that my brother-in-law, Mark, was layed off from his job that morning. He had absolutely no idea that it was going to happen and it was effective immediately. Because he had only been there about a year and a half, he was only given 4 weeks severance pay. He started contacting people and headhunters and searching for a job on Friday but it is going to be tough right here at the holidays. They had been planning on going to Disney with us the first week of December but cannot justify spending the money now that this has happened. Everyone please keep them in your thoughts and prayers.

Here is an article that I found about the layoff:

Solutia Inc. on Friday laid off 128 workers at its Decatur plant. The company is classifying 38 of the layoffs -- including 18 Solutia employees and 20 contract employees -- as permanent.

The company said the job loss for the other 90 workers -- including 48 Solutia employees and 42 contract employees -- is temporary.

Plant Manager Al Faulkner said Friday the company expects to call back the temporarily laid-off workers in about six weeks.

The layoffs take effect immediately, said Solutia spokesman Dan Jenkins.

'No good time' for layoffs

Jenkins said delaying the layoffs until after the holidays "would not have been the right business decision. There's no good time to announce something like this."

Before the layoff, the plant had 235 employees and 128 contract workers.

Six of the permanent layoffs involve salaried employees, Faulkner said. Eleven of the temporary layoffs are salaried.

The company previously announced it "is exploring strategic alternatives" for the nylon business, including its sale. It has said it would dispose of the business by the end of March.

Faulkner and other managers met with laid-off employees individually or in small groups Friday, Faulkner said.

"The employees are very understanding," Faulkner said. "We have very bright employees, and they see what's in the news and what's going on in the worldwide economy. They are aware and educated enough to know that things like this happen when the economy goes bad."

The permanent job losses are part of Solutia's effort to restructure the unprofitable nylon business. The company cut 10 percent, or $40 million, of its annualized fixed costs across the nylon business.

The temporary layoffs are a response to a dramatic drop in demand for nylon that began in late September.

The Decatur facility produces an intermediate chemical used in nylon fiber and nylon plastic. Most of the fiber goes into carpet. That part of the business has been dropping for years, especially since housing sales began to drop in late 2006.

The nylon plastics business, however, had been growing until the national economic crisis became acute. Much of the nylon plastic is used for under-the-hood parts in new cars. Car manufacturers have cut production in response to plummeting sales.

"In September, we were, by and large, running our nylon plants flat-out," said Jenkins. "At that time our forecast for the fourth quarter was for continued strong demand. As a result, we had pretty significant inventory built up. In the last six weeks or so, that demand has gone down significantly."

Faulkner said Solutia is selling from inventory, which he believes will run out -- requiring more production -- in early 2009.

"The precipitous decline has flattened," Faulkner said. "We're feeling as though we're reaching the lowest ebb of customer orders. We anticipate that will slowly start to climb. I believe the economy will begin to rebound, and we'll begin a sustained recovery, in 2009."

If Solutia's sales projections are overly optimistic, the anticipated duration of the furlough for temporarily laid off employees could change.

"While we believe it is temporary and they will be brought back," Jenkins said, "if that situation were to change we would communicate to them."

Solutia is paying severance to permanently laid-off employees. The temporarily laid-off employees can continue their benefits, but their only wage continuation will be through unemployment compensation.

The maximum weekly unemployment compensation in the state is $255, with a maximum duration of 39 weeks.

Solutia entered a reorganization bankruptcy in 2003. It shut down its Acrilan plant in Decatur in April 2005, laying off two-thirds of its employees.

Solutia exited bankruptcy in February after litigation over $1.2 billion in exit financing. To keep the financing, it had to agree to higher than expected interest rates.

In July, Solutia announced it wanted to sell the nylon business.

Overall, Solutia laid off 1,600 workers Friday. About 60 percent of the affected workers are contractors. Solutia considers about 900 of the layoffs to be temporary.

Before the layoff, Solutia had 6,000 employees and 2,000 contractors.


Ellis Family said...

WHOA - that is horrible! I am so sorry and of course will keep them in my prayers :(

Anonymous said...

I am sorry to hear about the job loss, what a horrible time of the year. My prayers are with them!

About Disney..the boys and I are living in Florida and if you have time we would love to see you guys!!
Email me or call 757-812-9984

Name: The Bryant Family said...

I'm trying to remember - isn't he a chemical engineer?

Also, this line from the article - "Jenkins said delaying the layoffs until after the holidays "would not have been the right business decision. There's no good time to announce something like this."" - BOGUS! A company that lays people off the week of Thanksgiving right as the holiday season is starting isn't worth working for and I'm sure Mark's next job will be even better!