Some tough news for my hometown of Midland; Dow Chemical is having to do some serious trimming-
The Dow Chemical Co. today said it plans to eliminate 5,000 jobs, close 20 facilities in high-cost locations, divest itself of several businesses, temporarily idle 180 plants and cut the global contracted work force by 6,000.
The job reductions within Dow are roughly 11 percent of the company’s work force. The measures will save $700 million in yearly operating costs by 2010.
It's a real small world; the co-author of that Midland Daily News piece, Cheryl Wade, is one of our circle of friends from Midland. I can recall seeing she and her guide dog (she's blind) at Midland Free Methodist when we went their in 2006-7 before moving to Lexington.
Dow has been trimming staff for years, but an 11% cut means 11% of Midland's primary employer. That would mean something on the order of 500 jobs in a town of 40,000 if Midland gets its share of the cuts. That's around 3% of the working population, even before you start looking at multiplier effects; the 3% getting laid off or early-retired will have less to spend at local establishments, possibly forcing marginal stores to close and lay off more people.
How much of a company town is it? The new minor-league baseball stadium is the Dow Diamond, the city library is the Grace A. Dow Library, the old high school in town is the Midland High Chemics and the newer school (circa 1970) is Dow High. The two largest employees are Dow Chemical and Dow Corning (a Dow-Corning Glass 50-50 corporate "partnership"); confuse the two at your own peril if you go to Midland.
I can remember past Dow staff trimming. One of my dad's good friends Don Cormier got early retired from Dow in the early 90s and spend what should have been a productive 50s selling appliances at Sears at our then-new mall; however, he had more free time to help out in prison ministry and helping out with the Open Door homeless shelter. He passed on last year.
Not everyone's going to be as productively semi-retired as Don was; my father-in-law got early-retired out of a comptroller's job and works as a gas station/convenience store manager to supplement his pension pay.
Pray for the people in Midland and elsewhere who are getting laid off (and their families, church-mates and loved ones). Also pray for the ones who aren't getting laid off, for they will have both survivor's regret and a heavier workload if Dow is trying to do more with less; Eileen got let go from a long-term temp position at Dow a few years back when they decided to staff her department with one less person.