Up to 500 lose jobs at local DuPont plant

By Beth Danziger - bio | email 

Posted by Terry Alexander - email

CHESTERFIELD, VA (WWBT) - The DuPont company announced Thursday it plans to lay off 2,000 workers worldwide. A decision that will affect the local Spruance plant here. Nearly 20 percent of the employees there will find themselves out of work by July 31.

Employees here weren't suspired by the layoff announcement. They knew it was coming. They just didn't know how large it would be and when it would happen. Other businesses in the area say the decision will have affect on the community.

The layoffs at the DuPont Spruance plant will be across the board. It will affect three-hundred hourly workers along with up to two hundred salary employees.

"It's going to impact those that we know we care about we are going to just have to support each other and get through it," said Plant Manager Joe Internicola.

DuPont officials say the layoffs are part of a restructuring effort to help with cash flow. The weakness in the car, construction, and industrial markets has hit the company hard. They say down sizing at this plant will help them now and later on down the road.

"We are going to be strengthening our competitive positions so when the economy turns around and the demand for our products recovers, we will be in better positions to meet our customer needs," Internicola said.

But for those who own businesses around the plant and all over metro Richmond, the layoffs are far more reaching. Patrick's of Jeff Davis Highway is a DuPont employee after work hangout. Chip Karpus depends on the business.

"I'm dependent on making a living at this restaurant so if my income goes down then my lifestyle is going to change so it's scary for everybody," said Chip Karpus, Patrick's owner.

Karpus used to work at DuPont and knows the company likes to hire back those it's let go. He's just hopes after this round of layoffs in July it happens sooner rather than later.

"The impact won't be immediate and it won't be immense on me right away six months from now it may be and that goes for everyone in the area," Karpus said.

Those laid off will get a severance package based on years of service.

(c) 2009. WWBT, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.