Mild winter, market fluctuations blamed for layoffs at 3 Gore plants


May 05, 1999|By Shanon D. Murray | Shanon D. Murray,SUN STAFF

Mild winters and fluctuations in the outdoor clothing market led to the layoffs of between 100 and 130 employees at three W. L. Gore & Associates plants in Elkton, the company said yesterday.

All of the employees worked in the Newark, Del., company's consumer fabrics division, which is best known for making Gore-Tex, a high-tech waterproof fabric that wicks moisture from the body.

"The last couple of winters have been warm and that has affected our business," said Lisa King, a Gore spokeswoman in Delaware. "Consumers buy less cold weather outerwear when it's warm.

"That causes a domino effect all the way back to suppliers. There's less of a need for retailers to buy inventory when there are items already in stock," King explained.

The work force reductions, which were completed in March, have left 600 workers at the three affected plants. Gore, a privately held company, has 14 plants in Maryland and Delaware.

Gore-Tex is made of polytetrafluoroethylene, or PTFE, the substance used to coat military bombs and frying pans that was transformed into a top-selling fabric laminate for pricey outdoor clothing.

Pub Date: 5/05/99

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