More Workers Laid Off At Gatorade Plant

Monday, December 1st 2008, 6:53 pm
By: News 9

By Craig Day, for NEWS 9

PRYOR, OK -- The sluggish economy is to blame for more job losses at the Gatorade plant in Pryor's Mid America Industrial Park. Gatorade announced on Monday it is laying off dozens of workers.

Gatorade said while its share of the market has grown, the liquid beverage market has softened.

Word of more layoffs quickly spread around town.

"It's sad.  Right here at Christmas time, it's just really sad.  I hate to see people losing their jobs out there," Pryor T Conoco employee Linda Cobler said.

In all, 87 hourly workers are losing their jobs at Gatorade's Pryor facility.

"The markets are not there and if you can't move your product, you've got to cut back to where you find a balance.  And I think that is what they are doing," Industrial Park Administrator Sanders Mitchell said.

Laid off workers will get two months of full pay and six months of benefits.

This isn't the first time that Gatorade has had layoffs here at its Pryor facility.  Back in October, the company shut down production at its facility for a week, and laid off about two dozen workers.

The Gatorade layoffs, combined with recent job losses at Labinal, an aerospace company, have many concerned about the economic impact on the area.

"That many people laid off I'm sure it's going to hurt the economy here in town," Cobler said.

Mitchell said no doubt the layoffs hurt, but he believes the area is well diversified and will rebound.

"That's one of the advantages of being diversified as we are, is that there are always times when some plants are in a boom, some are in a bust.  So we're fortunate not to have all of our eggs in one basket," said Mitchell.

Despite the layoffs, Gatorade said with its $180 million plant in Pryor, it is committed to long term success.

There are seven companies right now at the Mid America Industrial Park that are each hiring about 20 employees, so it's hoped many of the laid off workers can find jobs at one of those businesses.