Are we losing our heavy industry?

April 17, 2005

Rumors abound about International Paper and Solutia closing.

IP has already shut down one paper mill. The company can produce its products overseas with cheaper labor (yes, there are places with lower wages than P’cola) and without the gov’t regulations. Watch for layoffs and for IP to drag out its plans to upgrade the plant to help clean-up Perdido Bay.

Solutia is in bankruptcy. It has already screwed over its Monsanto retirees. Quietly it has laid off workers since 2001. No one really knows what is happening on Chemstrand road. The current employees are afraid to talk. Just as with IP – Solutia can produce its products overseas much cheaper.

There was a time when the local heads of these operations were very visible; leaders of the Chamber; and active in community causes. Now they are invisible. Can you even name who they are?

I predict in three years both operations will either be sold or closed down completely. Are the Escambia County Commission and the Pensacola Chamber of Commerce prepared?

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