Dow to drop 300-400 jobs

Published 12:00 am Saturday, June 2, 2001


TAFT – Dow Chemical, St. Charles Operations, has announced a program to scale back their payroll by 300 to 400 jobs in St. Charles Parish’s three sites in the wake of Dow’s acquisition of Union Carbide, which took effect in February. This is nearly one-fourth of the total 1,500 positions at the three sites in Taft and Norco. Dow spokesman Stanley Roy Dufrene said, “It was pretty evident we had an opportunity for the company and for the employees,” and added, “Most are really enthusiastic.” Most of the job cuts are through attrition, as retirement or severance packages were made available as duplications are eliminated throughout St. Charles Operations. Dow announced plans early last month to cut 4,500 jobs across the board, as part of a $1.1 billion cost-cutting measure as the Union Carbide buyout in February takes full hold. The cuts in St. Charles Operations, Dufrene said, represents a “de-layering” of management, as former Union Carbide positions are eliminated and the corporate structure is streamlined more in the Dow model. Now, there will be one “site leader” or plant manager for all of St. Charles Operations, where once there were three, and duplications in human resources and safety functions are likewise being scaled back. Positions such as assistant plant manager at three separate locations are being cut out, as well as other layers of management, Dufrene continued. Notification of those employees whose positions are being eliminated has begun and will continue throughout the summer months, Dufrene said. Some retirements allowed for early elimination of jobs in April and May. Still other jobs will be cut out during the next two years. The former Union Carbide-Star and the Norco facility are plastics plants. The main Union Carbide plant in Taft manufactures a variety of chemical products, all now under the umbrella of Dow Chemical, St. Charles Operations.