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Dupont Announces Job Cuts, Delaware Economy to Suffer

by NewStandard Staff

Unions blame lower wages overseas for employee cuts at DuPont. Analysts worry that Delaware's economy may be adversely affected.

Apr. 18, 2004 –
DuPont, a chemical, materials and energy company, announced it would cut 3,500 jobs, or 6 percent of its workforce, mostly from the United States and Europe, by the end of the year, reports the Wall Street Journal. Delaware, the company’s base, is likely to be particularly hard hit by the cuts, as 650 people are scheduled to be laid off, according to Delaware’s News Journal.

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Unions blame lower wages overseas for the cuts. "This is bad news for American workers and probably good news for Chinese workers," Carl Goodman, president of the International Brotherhood of American Workers, told the Delaware News Journal.

DuPont spokesman R. Clifton Webb told the News Journal that the company is not moving jobs overseas to reduce labor costs but rather to put employees in parts of the world with the highest potential for growth.

According to the News Journal, employment at DuPont has been cut by over two thirds since 1981, due to layoffs and sales of business segments, and is expected to sink to 55,500 by the end of the month. In Delaware alone, employment has fallen from its peak of 26,600 in 1985 to about 8,000.

Analysts say that the job cuts at DuPont will have a ripple effect through the state’s economy, predicting that for every job DuPont cuts, an additional Delaware job will be lost, reports the News Journal.

DuPont’s CEO, Charles Holliday, is optimistic about the job cuts. "Many good things will come out of the work redesign and the actions that will follow," Holliday said in an e-mail, a copy of which was provided to the News Journal by union officials. "We will help ensure the near- and long-term competitiveness of our businesses worldwide as well as progress toward our mission of sustainable growth."

Documents released by the Federal Securities and Exchange Commission show Holliday’s bonus was cut by 40 percent to $1.3 million in 2003, but his salary was raised 3 percent to $1.12 million and he received $33,293 in other compensation, reports Collision Repair Industry INSIGHT, a research source for the collision repair industry. For 2004, Holliday requested that his salary stay unchanged, according to the SEC documents.

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