Less than a week after DuPont announced its merger with Dow Chemical on Dec. 11, DuPont managers told scientists at DuPont Central Research & Development in Wilmington, Del., to halt all laboratory work. The researchers were to label unmarked samples and leave everything else in place. Severe and unprecedented cuts, the researchers were warned, were coming.
Between Christmas and New Year’s Day, employees received Microsoft Outlook invitations for 10-minute meetings with their supervisors. On Jan. 4, they took their turns learning if they would be let go. Cardboard file boxes were left in the lobbies at DuPont’s Experimental Station for workers to carry out their personal effects. Delaware state troopers were on-site in case of incident.
“It was one by one all day long,” a former researcher who asked not to be named tells C&EN. “And it was one of the most miserable days I ever had.”There's more; it doesn't get much better.
(I've never quite understood the corporate American need for security during layoffs - I don't think there's been a track record of violence...)
(Also, don't miss this simple cartoon of how one person sees the DuPont layoffs. A generalization, but only a little.)