Louisville, Kentucky -- DuPont Performance Elastomers LLC
has closed its polychloroprene plant in Louisville more than five years after
first announcing its plan to shutter the facility.
Only 82 workers remain at the plant to complete decontamination of the
site, according to Ron Durham, vice president of United Steelworkers
Local 8-2002, which organised the plant's hourly workers.
The plant opened in the 1930s and had some 2400 workers in its heyday
in the 1960s, but the last batch of Neoprene rolled off the
manufacturing line in mid-February, according to the company.
The planned closure of the facility caused consternation not only among
employees and the USW, but also among Neoprene buyers such as Gates
Corp., which tried unsuccessfully in 2005 to have the International
Trade Commission lift the 55-percent duties on Japanese Neoprene to
DuPont Performance Elastomers is moving many of the production lines
for Louisville grades of Neoprene to its Pontchartrain plant at
LaPlace, Louisiana, and the final phase of that transition has just begun, a
company spokeswoman said.