NITRO, W. Va. (Oct. 16)—Flexsys America L.P. said it will end rubber chemicals production at its Nitro facility by the end of 2004. The firm said the closure will affect 155 workers at the site, and is subject to final negotiations with the United Steelworkers of America, which represents the workers. A year ago USWA Local 12610 signed a six-year contract with the company. Flexsys America—the U.S. arm of Flexsys N.V., a joint venture of Akzo Nobel N.V. and Solutia Inc.—cut 50 jobs at the location in the past year. Nitro Plant Manager Jon McKinney, in a news release, said the workforce and management have been able to cut costs at the facility, but because of pressure from global competitors "it continues to severely underperform." After the facility is closed and dismantled, by mid-2005, it will revert to Solutia's ownership.