LOUISVILLE, Ky. (March 4, 2008) — DuPont Performance Elastomers L.L.C. has closed its neoprene 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 organized the plant's hourly workers.
The plant opened in the 1930s and had some 2,400 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 assure supplies.
DuPont Performance Elastomers is moving many of the production lines for Louisville grades of neoprene to its Pontchartrain plant at LaPlace, La., and the final phase of that transition has just begun, a company spokeswoman said.