Monday, the company announced that it will lay off approximately 300 employees here and another 100 in Michigan due to significant oversupply in the polysilicon industry and the threat of potential tariffs on its products sold into China.
(CLICK HERE TO READ THE LETTER SENT TO THE DISLOCATED WORKER UNIT)
Montgomery County Mayor Carolyn Bowers remains optimistic. “They are still holding this facility in Clarksville on their balance sheet as an asset,” she said. “They’re not saying they’re closing it, it’s just delaying the opening. Maybe in 12-18 months they can get the issue resolved with the federal government in China. If not, it’ll just be pushed down the road.”
A release by Hemlock stated if the market conditions continue, the layoffs could become permanent.
“This is an unfortunate set of circumstances. It just arose to my knowledge about this, and obviously my heart goes out to all the affected families that may be impacted by this particular decision.” City Mayor Kim McMillan said.
“This is a difficult but necessary decision to enable Hemlock Semiconductor to navigate the volatility in the polysilicon and solar industries,” said Andrew Tometich, President of Hemlock Semiconductor. “The unresolved trade disputes among the U.S., China and Europe are a major factor in Hemlock Semiconductor’s actions as the threat of tariffs on U.S. polysilicon imported into China has significantly decreased orders from China, which is home to one of the largest markets for our products.”
The Tennessee facility will maintain a minimum workforce focused on safely maintaining the site for eventual production. A number of factors will impact the exact timing of the start-up of the facility, including customer demand and resolution of the trade disputes.