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LaFayette rubber plant slated to close

LaFAYETTE — LaFayette Mayor Barry Moody started Monday’s LaFayette City Council meeting with the news that Kardoes Rubber Company would soon announce its closure.

Hexpol purchased Kardoes in August 2014, and the company was started in 1988 by its founder Frank Kardoes.

When Hexpol purchased the company, it was stated in a Hexpol news release the plant employed about 90 people. Updated numbers were unavailable on Tuesday.

Moody said he didn’t have any answers about severance packages for employees or if workforce development agencies will help the employees moving forward.

“I think now is the time as mayor and the council members, we want to keep each and every employee that works out there in your prayers, along with their families,” Moody said. “I know in my heart that LaFayette is strong. Chambers County is strong. And the state will be providing resources to help relocate, train and get those individuals that lost jobs to move on.”

He said without knowing all the details involved in the closure, there’s not much to say except to keep them in your thoughts.

“Because they are the ones who are affected,” Moody said. “They are the ones going through a life-changing experience, and we want to make sure we are there for them to do everything we can to make their transition as good as we can.”

The Valley Times-News attempted to reach Hexpol for comment regarding the closure but didn’t receive a return phone call.

Chambers County Development Authority Executive Director Valerie Gray said Tuesday morning she contacted resources throughout the state, including the state’s Department of Commerce’s Rapid Response Team through the Office of Workforce Development and Rural Development.

According to the department of commerce’s website, the rapid response team provides on-site assistance to workers when plants announce layoffs.

“When plants close or substantial layoffs are implemented, the Rapid Response Team swiftly reacts and meets on-site with employers and employees affected by job losses,” the website said. “At the employee group meetings, workers receive information about unemployment compensation, pension benefits, job training, employment services, health insurance, credit counseling and many other services.”

Gray said once the state receives word of the plant’s closure, a team can start to meet with displaced workers.

“Our job at the CCDA is to coordinate with them and not interfere but allow the professionals to do their job,” she said. “Our job here is to make sure that we give the Rapid Response Team the resources they need to assist the displaced workers and get them back into the workforce as quickly as possible.”