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Performance Fibers cutting jobs

By Paris Goodnight
Salisbury Post
Performance Fibers said Friday it intends to reduce manufacturing at its Salisbury plant but it didn’t announce a number of jobs affected.
Besides the Rowan County plant, Performance Fibers intends to partially idle manufacturing at its Moncure plant in New Hill.
Both plants will remain in operation but at reduced capacities.
The exact number of employees affected and the timing is still being determined. Performance Fibers will provide benefits and other assistance for affected employees.
The Rowan County plant was known as Invista before Performance Fibers bought it in a deal that closed last month. It also has been known as Hoechst Celanese, Trevira, KoSa and Fiber Industries over the years since the plant opened in the mid 1960s.
The company Web site lists 550 employees, but doesn’t include contract workers. The last figures compiled by the Rowan County Chamber of Commerce showed 750 people worked at the plant in 2007, including 190 contract workers. 
Other plants in Shelby, South Carolina and Mexico won’t be affected by the latest cutbacks that are part of the company’s North American realignment to match production capacity with demand.
“It is essential that our manufacturing footprint in North America aligns with the needs of our customers and the areas where they see us as providing the most value, while also being cost effective and profitable long-term,” said Performance Fibers President and CEO Gregory S. Rogowski. “These decisions are very difficult for us to make, but to remain competitive and viable, these actions are necessary, and will make us a stronger company going forward.”  
A release from the company continued, “We deeply regret the impact this will have on the Moncure and Salisbury workforce, their families and their communities. As always, we are committed to treating all employees with respect and fairness, and we will work to make this transition as smooth as possible for affected employees,” Rogowski said.
The Performance Fibers announcement comes a day after Freightliner announced the pending layoff of approximately 1,500 workers at its Cleveland truck manufacturing plant. The Freightliner layoffs will be effective June 6.
Challenging economic conditions have hurt the fiber industry recently. Among the factors impacting the business and reducing demand are cutbacks by tire manufacturers that have moved production to lower-cost regions and increased competition from suppliers in Asia and other areas, Performance Fibers reported.  
“Performance Fibers remains committed to manufacturing in North America and serving as a local resource for customers in this region,” Rogowski said. “However, to continue to do so, our manufacturing base must match the realities of the very difficult environment we are operating in.”  
The company produces fibers for tires, fabrics, sewing thread, engineered reinforcements, geotextiles, offshore mooring and automotive safety.
Contact Paris Goodnight at 704-797-4255 or pgoodnight@ salisburypost.com.

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