The proposed actions are the following: First, HNI would discontinue part of its two-step nylon carpet fiber operations located at the Chesterfield plant. This would include all Spinning Building 6 operations and the associated fiber texturizing operations in its Sintex Department. This proposed action would result in the permanent reduction of about 120 positions across the Chesterfield site. With the recent acquisition of BASF’s nylon fibers business, Honeywell Nylon has overlapping fiber manufacturing capability and the flexibility to serve customers from a number of locations. It is no longer economically viable to continue production on some of the older two-step technology at the Chesterfield Plant, when the company has less costly, more efficient one-step processes at other facilities. Proposed timing would be to discontinue the operations by Dec. 14, 2003.
Second, BASF, which owns some of the polymer and compounding assets in the Chesterfield Plant, has communicated to Honeywell its proposal to discontinue its Compounding operations in Building 5. This proposed action would result in the reduction of about 10 positions. The proposed timing of this action would be to discontinue operations some time in the 1st quarter of 2004.
Finally, HNI announced that it is in the planning phase of upgrading and re-commissioning one of its polymer production units (B-Train) to produce carpet fiber-grade resins and possibly other specialty polymer products. The B-Train unit has been idle since February 2003, when the company discontinued its Industrial Fibers operations at the site. If approved, this proposed action would result in the addition of about 8 positions. The proposed timing of this action would be to bring the unit online by late February 2004.
The Chesterfield plant would continue to produce BCF carpet fiber through Spinning Building 26, which uses a less costly process (A-Train melt-fed polymer). The site would also continue to produce polymer chip for the Carpet Fibers business and nylon resins for the Specialty Polymers business. The plant would also continue to operate BASF’s compounding assets in Building 12 along with Polymer C Train.
As a result of all of these proposed actions, approximately 120 positions (hourly and salary) at the Chesterfield Plant would be at risk. The Chesterfield plant currently employs about 875 people, including about 725 operations and maintenance workers represented by the Teamsters Local 101 and about 150 salaried employees.