CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Dow Chemical plans to eliminate a handful of jobs in South Charleston as part of a plan to cut about 2,400 jobs and close 20 plants nationwide.
The layoffs will affect Dow's gum base unit in South Charleston, said Kanawha County Commission President Kent Carper.
"My understanding is they sent out 13 WARN notices," Carper said. "Someone said, 'That's not that many.' It sure is if you're one of the families."
Employers with 100 or more full-time workers are required by law to file Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notifications when they close a facility, discontinue an operating unit or lay off a significant number of workers.
"The decision to shut down this asset was a portfolio-based decision and is aligned to a series of moves the company is taking to strengthen our long-term competitiveness, focus our resources in areas that will drive growth and deliver the most profitable returns on our investments," Dow spokeswoman Rebecca Bentley said in a prepared statement Wednesday.
"The Gum Base employees have done an excellent job and have demonstrated outstanding performance. Specific impacts are still being finalized," Bentley said.
The gum base plant manufactures a base ingredient for chewing gum, Carper said.
The 2,400 job cuts amount to about 5 percent of the company's total workforce worldwide. Dow expects to save $500 million annual by the end of 2014. With other cost-cutting measures, Dow anticipates saving a total of $2.5 billion.
Carper and South Charleston Mayor Frank Mullens said company officials reached out to each of them Wednesday morning to tell them the news.
"In recent years, they've been adding people," Carper said. "This appears to be a decision made at a high level."
Mullens said Dow officials did not give him specific details about how many jobs would be eliminated.
"My understanding is it's a very small change here in South Charleston," Mullens said. "[There] may be a few jobs affected."