Rohm and Haas Phasing Out Workforce - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

170 OFF THE JOB AFTER FRIDAY

Rohm and Haas Phasing Out Workforce

All of Rohm and Haas's production lines are now shut down, and by the end of this month there will be only a small crew left at the Rohm and Haas site.

The company started this year with 220 employees. As of Friday 170 were on the job for the last time as the plant began the final phase-out of its workforce.

After almost nine years at Rohm and Haas, Cathey Brooks's job is almost over.

"I'll be back tonight. I'll work a double tonight and tomorrow night and this will be it. It's kinda bittersweet, it's sad but you know, life goes on, we have to continue on," Brooks said.

The reality of the plant closing is finally sinking in for the workers who have known for months that the company was in trouble.

"We didn't really believe it for awhile but we believe it now, it's ending," said five-year employee Shane White.

Some of the workers have worked at the plant for years under several owners before Rohm and Haas took over from Morton Thiokol two years ago. They say everyone thought when Rohm and Haas came in, it would mean better days ahead.

"This is the fourth owner that's had it since I been here, and Rohm and Haas really came in here like gangbusters telling us how good a place, they were going to make it work, and I think from the get go they knew it was going to shut down and they just kinda prolonged it," Tony Daniels says.

"We thought Rohm and Haas would be the salvation of this plant, but it didn't turn out that way. They closed down 30 facilities so far, 28 of them were former Morton facilities," Norman Cupit said.

The plant manager says the layoffs can't be avoided because the company's 50-year-old technology can no longer compete with new technology.

"There's competing technologies coming in, and we couldn't charge more for our product because they could switch to another technology that was lower priced, so we couldn't increase our prices to compensate for increased capital costs," Jane Bowen said.

A small crew will return to the plant in January to dismantle equipment and clean up the site to ensure it meets EPA standards.

By Marcia Hill

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