IBEW Local 429
2001 Elm Hill Pike
Nashville, TN 37210
Tel: (615) 889-4429
Fax: (615) 874-1253
300 jobs gone at Hemlock Semiconductor
11/13/13 2:05PM



CLARKSVILLE — Nearly 300 employees of Hemlock Semiconductor in Clarksville who had been put on administrative leave earlier this year were formally notified Tuesday that their jobs are gone.

The announcement confirmed weeks of speculation about the long-term status of the layoffs, effective March 18.

The polycrystalline silicon plant’s status was further amplified recently by confirmation from Hemlock, plus other local sources in job training and recruitment, that affected workers are being offered a severance package that includes health benefits and outplacement services.

In all, about 400 Hemlock employees are losing their jobs, including close to 300 in Clarksville and another 100 in Michigan.

Beyond the layoffs, Hemlock has essentially declined to respond to questions about the long-term future of the newly built, $1.2 billion Clarksville plant that sits on a TVA-certified industrial megasite representing a massive community investment.

The company continues to blame global trade disputes and an uneven playing field with China for its layoffs and delays. Other polysilicon companies are banding with Hemlock in these claims.

In an email to The Leaf-Chronicle on Tuesday, Jarrod Erpelding with Dow Corning and Hemlock Semiconductor said:

“Today we notified those placed on administrative leave that their layoff will become permanent. This, as you know, is due to the continued volatility in the solar polysilicon industry, and Hemlock Semiconductor does not have additional clarity or resolution to the international trade disputes.”

When the layoffs were first announced this year, Hemlock Semiconductor President Andrew Tometich said it’s “not a question of if, but when” the Clarksville facility will begin making polysilicon.

The company is maintaining a minimum work force on the site, but within the region there is a growing legion of doubters about Hemlock’s future in Tennessee.

Late last week, The Leaf-Chronicle asked Hemlock officials about not only the status of layoffs in Clarksville, but also efforts to place laid-off workers in other jobs.

The query also posed the growing concern locally about whether the Clarksville Hemlock facility ever will open for production, and how Dow Corning and Hemlock might theoretically manage a $1.2 billion loss and repay local government for the plant site under its contractual agreement, if the plant never starts up and meets its employment expectations.

Tometich issued this response on Tuesday:

“The last few months have been extremely difficult for the Hemlock Semiconductor team, as a lot of talented, hard-working employees are leaving the company. Moving forward, our Michigan site will continue to align its production with current customer demand, and our Tennessee facility will focus on safely maintaining the site for eventual production.

“It is far too early to speculate on the hypothetical situations that you lay out in your email,” Tometich wrote.

“From a job placement perspective, I can point to a pair of job fairs held in Clarksville that employees on administrative leave were personally invited to, and we are also excited that there appears to be additional growth in the Clarksville-Montgomery County business community,” he said.

Big stakes

In another report, Erpelding said the company already has signed contracts for most of its polysilicon production for the first few years it is in operation, a move partly intended to shield the company from price fluctuations. Where those contracts stand is unclear.

Much is at stake while the company is in limbo. Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development incentives pledged to Hemlock total $299.5 million, including the local share of $54.5 million.

Factoring in 20 years of tax abatement, Hemlock has been expected to generate more than $40 million in Montgomery County property tax revenues, at the current tax rate.

The County Commission originally purchased the farmland where the Hemlock plant sits, on behalf of the Clarksville-Montgomery County Industrial Development Board, for $20 million.

Hemlock was given the land, but had agreed to pay $5.5 million toward interest on the bond the county obtained to secure the land.

At one point, former Tennessee Gov. Phil Bredesen, who was in office when both Hemlock in Clarksville and Wacker Chemie, another polysilicon plant in Cleveland, Tenn., were recruited, also reportedly announced some $62 million in federal stimulus dollars to the state’s solar industry for creation of a Tennessee Solar Institute.

Company and government officials have said no stimulus funds were used in the Hemlock plant’s construction.

Hemlock Semiconductor is part of Dow Corn­ing, which built the original purified silicon plant in Thomas Township, Mich., in 1960. Executives in 1979 formed Hemlock Semiconductor Corp. as a wholly owned subsidiary of Dow Corning, and five years later, Japan’s Shin-Etsu Hanotai Co. and Mitsubishi Materials Corp. bought 37 percent of the operation.

By 1994, the company became the world’s largest producer and supplier of the ultra-pure silicon used in products including solar panels and iPhones.





















CLARKSVILLE — Nearly 300 employees of Hemlock Semiconductor in Clarksville who had been put on administrative leave earlier this year were formally notified Tuesday that their jobs are gone.

The announcement confirmed weeks of speculation about the long-term status of the layoffs, effective March 18.

The polycrystalline silicon plant’s status was further amplified recently by confirmation from Hemlock, plus other local sources in job training and recruitment, that affected workers are being offered a severance package that includes health benefits and outplacement services.

In all, about 400 Hemlock employees are losing their jobs, including close to 300 in Clarksville and another 100 in Michigan.

Beyond the layoffs, Hemlock has essentially declined to respond to questions about the long-term future of the newly built, $1.2 billion Clarksville plant that sits on a TVA-certified industrial megasite representing a massive community investment.

The company continues to blame global trade disputes and an uneven playing field with China for its layoffs and delays. Other polysilicon companies are banding with Hemlock in these claims.

In an email to The Leaf-Chronicle on Tuesday, Jarrod Erpelding with Dow Corning and Hemlock Semiconductor said:

“Today we notified those placed on administrative leave that their layoff will become permanent. This, as you know, is due to the continued volatility in the solar polysilicon industry, and Hemlock Semiconductor does not have additional clarity or resolution to the international trade disputes.”

When the layoffs were first announced this year, Hemlock Semiconductor President Andrew Tometich said it’s “not a question of if, but when” the Clarksville facility will begin making polysilicon.

The company is maintaining a minimum work force on the site, but within the region there is a growing legion of doubters about Hemlock’s future in Tennessee.

Late last week, The Leaf-Chronicle asked Hemlock officials about not only the status of layoffs in Clarksville, but also efforts to place laid-off workers in other jobs.

The query also posed the growing concern locally about whether the Clarksville Hemlock facility ever will open for production, and how Dow Corning and Hemlock might theoretically manage a $1.2 billion loss and repay local government for the plant site under its contractual agreement, if the plant never starts up and meets its employment expectations.

Tometich issued this response on Tuesday:

“The last few months have been extremely difficult for the Hemlock Semiconductor team, as a lot of talented, hard-working employees are leaving the company. Moving forward, our Michigan site will continue to align its production with current customer demand, and our Tennessee facility will focus on safely maintaining the site for eventual production.

“It is far too early to speculate on the hypothetical situations that you lay out in your email,” Tometich wrote.

“From a job placement perspective, I can point to a pair of job fairs held in Clarksville that employees on administrative leave were personally invited to, and we are also excited that there appears to be additional growth in the Clarksville-Montgomery County business community,” he said.

Big stakes

In another report, Erpelding said the company already has signed contracts for most of its polysilicon production for the first few years it is in operation, a move partly intended to shield the company from price fluctuations. Where those contracts stand is unclear.

Much is at stake while the company is in limbo. Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development incentives pledged to Hemlock total $299.5 million, including the local share of $54.5 million.

Factoring in 20 years of tax abatement, Hemlock has been expected to generate more than $40 million in Montgomery County property tax revenues, at the current tax rate.

The County Commission originally purchased the farmland where the Hemlock plant sits, on behalf of the Clarksville-Montgomery County Industrial Development Board, for $20 million.

Hemlock was given the land, but had agreed to pay $5.5 million toward interest on the bond the county obtained to secure the land.

At one point, former Tennessee Gov. Phil Bredesen, who was in office when both Hemlock in Clarksville and Wacker Chemie, another polysilicon plant in Cleveland, Tenn., were recruited, also reportedly announced some $62 million in federal stimulus dollars to the state’s solar industry for creation of a Tennessee Solar Institute.

Company and government officials have said no stimulus funds were used in the Hemlock plant’s construction.

Hemlock Semiconductor is part of Dow Corn­ing, which built the original purified silicon plant in Thomas Township, Mich., in 1960. Executives in 1979 formed Hemlock Semiconductor Corp. as a wholly owned subsidiary of Dow Corning, and five years later, Japan’s Shin-Etsu Hanotai Co. and Mitsubishi Materials Corp. bought 37 percent of the operation.

By 1994, the company became the world’s largest producer and supplier of the ultra-pure silicon used in products including solar panels and iPhones.





















CLARKSVILLE — Nearly 300 employees of Hemlock Semiconductor in Clarksville who had been put on administrative leave earlier this year were formally notified Tuesday that their jobs are gone.

The announcement confirmed weeks of speculation about the long-term status of the layoffs, effective March 18.

The polycrystalline silicon plant’s status was further amplified recently by confirmation from Hemlock, plus other local sources in job training and recruitment, that affected workers are being offered a severance package that includes health benefits and outplacement services.

In all, about 400 Hemlock employees are losing their jobs, including close to 300 in Clarksville and another 100 in Michigan.

Beyond the layoffs, Hemlock has essentially declined to respond to questions about the long-term future of the newly built, $1.2 billion Clarksville plant that sits on a TVA-certified industrial megasite representing a massive community investment.

The company continues to blame global trade disputes and an uneven playing field with China for its layoffs and delays. Other polysilicon companies are banding with Hemlock in these claims.

In an email to The Leaf-Chronicle on Tuesday, Jarrod Erpelding with Dow Corning and Hemlock Semiconductor said:

“Today we notified those placed on administrative leave that their layoff will become permanent. This, as you know, is due to the continued volatility in the solar polysilicon industry, and Hemlock Semiconductor does not have additional clarity or resolution to the international trade disputes.”

When the layoffs were first announced this year, Hemlock Semiconductor President Andrew Tometich said it’s “not a question of if, but when” the Clarksville facility will begin making polysilicon.

The company is maintaining a minimum work force on the site, but within the region there is a growing legion of doubters about Hemlock’s future in Tennessee.

Late last week, The Leaf-Chronicle asked Hemlock officials about not only the status of layoffs in Clarksville, but also efforts to place laid-off workers in other jobs.

The query also posed the growing concern locally about whether the Clarksville Hemlock facility ever will open for production, and how Dow Corning and Hemlock might theoretically manage a $1.2 billion loss and repay local government for the plant site under its contractual agreement, if the plant never starts up and meets its employment expectations.

Tometich issued this response on Tuesday:

“The last few months have been extremely difficult for the Hemlock Semiconductor team, as a lot of talented, hard-working employees are leaving the company. Moving forward, our Michigan site will continue to align its production with current customer demand, and our Tennessee facility will focus on safely maintaining the site for eventual production.

“It is far too early to speculate on the hypothetical situations that you lay out in your email,” Tometich wrote.

“From a job placement perspective, I can point to a pair of job fairs held in Clarksville that employees on administrative leave were personally invited to, and we are also excited that there appears to be additional growth in the Clarksville-Montgomery County business community,” he said.

Big stakes

In another report, Erpelding said the company already has signed contracts for most of its polysilicon production for the first few years it is in operation, a move partly intended to shield the company from price fluctuations. Where those contracts stand is unclear.

Much is at stake while the company is in limbo. Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development incentives pledged to Hemlock total $299.5 million, including the local share of $54.5 million.

Factoring in 20 years of tax abatement, Hemlock has been expected to generate more than $40 million in Montgomery County property tax revenues, at the current tax rate.

The County Commission originally purchased the farmland where the Hemlock plant sits, on behalf of the Clarksville-Montgomery County Industrial Development Board, for $20 million.

Hemlock was given the land, but had agreed to pay $5.5 million toward interest on the bond the county obtained to secure the land.

At one point, former Tennessee Gov. Phil Bredesen, who was in office when both Hemlock in Clarksville and Wacker Chemie, another polysilicon plant in Cleveland, Tenn., were recruited, also reportedly announced some $62 million in federal stimulus dollars to the state’s solar industry for creation of a Tennessee Solar Institute.

Company and government officials have said no stimulus funds were used in the Hemlock plant’s construction.

Hemlock Semiconductor is part of Dow Corn­ing, which built the original purified silicon plant in Thomas Township, Mich., in 1960. Executives in 1979 formed Hemlock Semiconductor Corp. as a wholly owned subsidiary of Dow Corning, and five years later, Japan’s Shin-Etsu Hanotai Co. and Mitsubishi Materials Corp. bought 37 percent of the operation.

By 1994, the company became the world’s largest producer and supplier of the ultra-pure silicon used in products including solar panels and iPhones.
















CLARKSVILLE — Nearly 300 employees of Hemlock Semiconductor in Clarksville who had been put on administrative leave earlier this year were formally notified Tuesday that their jobs are gone.

The announcement confirmed weeks of speculation about the long-term status of the layoffs, effective March 18.

The polycrystalline silicon plant’s status was further amplified recently by confirmation from Hemlock, plus other local sources in job training and recruitment, that affected workers are being offered a severance package that includes health benefits and outplacement services.

In all, about 400 Hemlock employees are losing their jobs, including close to 300 in Clarksville and another 100 in Michigan.

Beyond the layoffs, Hemlock has essentially declined to respond to questions about the long-term future of the newly built, $1.2 billion Clarksville plant that sits on a TVA-certified industrial megasite representing a massive community investment.

The company continues to blame global trade disputes and an uneven playing field with China for its layoffs and delays. Other polysilicon companies are banding with Hemlock in these claims.

In an email to The Leaf-Chronicle on Tuesday, Jarrod Erpelding with Dow Corning and Hemlock Semiconductor said:

“Today we notified those placed on administrative leave that their layoff will become permanent. This, as you know, is due to the continued volatility in the solar polysilicon industry, and Hemlock Semiconductor does not have additional clarity or resolution to the international trade disputes.”

When the layoffs were first announced this year, Hemlock Semiconductor President Andrew Tometich said it’s “not a question of if, but when” the Clarksville facility will begin making polysilicon.

The company is maintaining a minimum work force on the site, but within the region there is a growing legion of doubters about Hemlock’s future in Tennessee.

Late last week, The Leaf-Chronicle asked Hemlock officials about not only the status of layoffs in Clarksville, but also efforts to place laid-off workers in other jobs.

The query also posed the growing concern locally about whether the Clarksville Hemlock facility ever will open for production, and how Dow Corning and Hemlock might theoretically manage a $1.2 billion loss and repay local government for the plant site under its contractual agreement, if the plant never starts up and meets its employment expectations.

Tometich issued this response on Tuesday:

“The last few months have been extremely difficult for the Hemlock Semiconductor team, as a lot of talented, hard-working employees are leaving the company. Moving forward, our Michigan site will continue to align its production with current customer demand, and our Tennessee facility will focus on safely maintaining the site for eventual production.

“It is far too early to speculate on the hypothetical situations that you lay out in your email,” Tometich wrote.

“From a job placement perspective, I can point to a pair of job fairs held in Clarksville that employees on administrative leave were personally invited to, and we are also excited that there appears to be additional growth in the Clarksville-Montgomery County business community,” he said.

Big stakes

In another report, Erpelding said the company already has signed contracts for most of its polysilicon production for the first few years it is in operation, a move partly intended to shield the company from price fluctuations. Where those contracts stand is unclear.

Much is at stake while the company is in limbo. Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development incentives pledged to Hemlock total $299.5 million, including the local share of $54.5 million.

Factoring in 20 years of tax abatement, Hemlock has been expected to generate more than $40 million in Montgomery County property tax revenues, at the current tax rate.

The County Commission originally purchased the farmland where the Hemlock plant sits, on behalf of the Clarksville-Montgomery County Industrial Development Board, for $20 million.

Hemlock was given the land, but had agreed to pay $5.5 million toward interest on the bond the county obtained to secure the land.

At one point, former Tennessee Gov. Phil Bredesen, who was in office when both Hemlock in Clarksville and Wacker Chemie, another polysilicon plant in Cleveland, Tenn., were recruited, also reportedly announced some $62 million in federal stimulus dollars to the state’s solar industry for creation of a Tennessee Solar Institute.

Company and government officials have said no stimulus funds were used in the Hemlock plant’s construction.

Hemlock Semiconductor is part of Dow Corn­ing, which built the original purified silicon plant in Thomas Township, Mich., in 1960. Executives in 1979 formed Hemlock Semiconductor Corp. as a wholly owned subsidiary of Dow Corning, and five years later, Japan’s Shin-Etsu Hanotai Co. and Mitsubishi Materials Corp. bought 37 percent of the operation.

By 1994, the company became the world’s largest producer and supplier of the ultra-pure silicon used in products including solar panels and iPhones.


[Back...]