Sabic's Pittsfield workers learning who will move to Houston

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PITTSFIELD >> Sabic Innovative Plastics has begun notifying employees who work in the company's corporate offices on Plastics Avenue whether they'll be offered the opportunity to relocate with the firm to Houston, a company spokeswoman said.

Employees who aren't asked to relocate, or who choose not to, will be provided with job loss benefits/severance packages and outplacement support, said Sabic spokeswoman Jodi Kennedy.

"The key word is 'starting'" the notification process, said Kennedy. The entire process is expected to take several months, she added.

Sabic has some 400 local employees, roughly 200 at both its corporate offices on Plastics Avenue and at the Polymer Processing Development Center in Pittsfield, Kennedy said. The Polymer Processing Development Center, also known locally as Building 100, represents Sabic's research and development division.

With the notification process just getting underway, Kennedy said it is to early to tell how many Sabic employees will be asked to relocate with the company to Houston.

"There are a number of business activities underway [in the Berkshires] that will delay when employees know about their roles," Kennedy said. "We also need to insure the businesses' continuity and the servicing of customers. Some will have an opportunity to stay longer based on need."

In October, Sabic announced it will close its corporate offices on Plastics Avenue that formerly served as the world headquarters for GE Plastics and move those operations to Houston in 2016. Houston is the hub of the global conglomerate's operations in the Americas.

The final exit date from Pittsfield will depend on when Sabic's business needs in the area are completed, according to Kennedy.

"The beginning of the exit will start this summer," she said.

Since October, Sabic has been undergoing a "very detailed" and "intensive" process to determine what roles are needed to support its headquarters in Houston, Kennedy said.

In December, Sabic announced that it planned to close its Polymer Processing Development Center in Pittsfield within two years and consolidate those operations at another company facility in Selkirk, N.Y., just south of Albany, by 2017.

For the employees not following the company to Houston, Kennedy said Sabic will hold an event to introduce Berkshire workers to local employers.

"We're going to host an event at our site to bring together local employers with those who want to stay in Berkshire County so they have the opportunity to make introductions to each other," Kennedy said. "That event will likely be held in early summer."

Contact Tony Dobrowolski at 413 496-6224.


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