Oil-Dri employees: Half of workforce given pink slips

MOUNDS, IL (KFVS) - A company in Mounds, Illinois handed out pink slips to more than half its work force on Wednesday.

The layoffs are at the Oil-Dri plant in Mounds. The company makes clay absorbent products used in homes and industry.

Employees are saying that 38 of the 60 people who worked there will lose their jobs as of the end of July.  The Company claims that number is as high as 40. The final number of terminated employees will depend on employee relocations.

A handful of the laid off workers were told that Wednesday was their last day.

According to Douglas A. Graham, Vice President and General Counsel  of Oil-Dri of America, the decision to move production of industrial floor absorbent and cat litter products was based on continued declines in the coarse cat litter market.  Also, included was a comprehensive evaluation of the company's manufacturing operations and cost structure, including regulatory requirements.

According to an official statement from the corporate office in Chicago, Oil-Dri announced to its employees the planned relocation of its Mounds facility to plants located in Mississippi.

"It will affect us. How much it will affect us financially on the county portion, I'm not that worried about that," said Pulaski County Board Chairman Monte Russell. "I'm worried about the people that are involved. It breaks my heart."

A statement from the company explains that some of the employees let go on Wednesday could be considered for a limited number of positions in Mississippi. And the final number of those terminated may depend on how many relocations there are.

"It's going to affect us real hard, people need their jobs," said Lashanna Johnson on Mounds. "We've got kids and houses we need those jobs. It's going to affect all of us. And it's going to hit us bad."

A company spokesperson says the Mounds facility will still produce animal health and nutrition products.

The plant has been a part of the Mounds community for the past 30 years.

The company says it expects to incur a pre-tax charge of around $1,700,000 due to its actions.

Copyright 2012 KFVS. All rights reserved.