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2 Longview firms lay off 111 total

By Ken Hedler
Sept. 21, 2017 at midnight

Samson Lone Star on Johnny Clark Road in Longview plans to lay off a majority of its 60 employees by Sept. 29, with no employees remaining after Dec. 31.

Two Longview companies are eliminating a combined 111 jobs, but only one has notified the Texas Workforce Commission of the layoffs.

Samson Resources II of Tulsa, Oklahoma, sent a letter to the commission under the federal Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act to report Samson Lone Star on Johnny Clark Road in Longview would lay off a majority of the 60 employees between this past Friday and Sept. 29, with no employees remaining after Dec. 31.

Meanwhile, the Crosby Group laid off 51 of its 450 employees Friday but did not contact the workforce commission, Plant Manager Chris Burbick said, adding WARN only applies if a "more significant portion" of the workforce is laid off.

"(Samson's) mass layoff is the result of the sale of the facility and related assets and is expected to be permanent," Sharolyn C. Whiting-Ralston, general counsel and vice president-human resources for Samson Resources, wrote in the letter to the state commission. "The affected employees may be offered employment by the purchaser of the facility, at the purchaser's sole discretion."

Ralston did not identify the purchaser, but a statement dated the same day from Samson Resources reported its board approved the sale of assets in East Texas and north Louisiana to an affiliate of Rockcliff Energy II of Houston for $525 million.

Samson and Rockcliff officials were unavailable for comment Wednesday, and an employee who answered the door Wednesday at the Johnny Clark Road facility declined comment.

Samson Lone Star apparently has been involved in oil and gas exploration, according to online information.

The sale of the East Texas assets came after Samson Resources acquired "substantially all" of the assets of Samson Resources Corp. after it emerged from Chapter 11 bankruptcy March 1, the news release stated. Samson Resources II indicated it planned to focus its efforts on developing oil and gas in the Powder River and Green River basins in Wyoming.

By contrast, the Crosby Group, which manufactures hooks, shackles and other parts for use in lifting and heavy equipment rigging, laid off the 51 employees, all eligible for recall, based on its fourth-quarter forecast, Burbick said.

He said the timing of the layoffs had more to do with the quarterly forecast than the pending closure of the aging plant at 900 Fisher Road and move to a newer and larger plant at 2414 Crosby Way in Longview's South Business Park.

The WARN Act, which has been in effect since Feb. 4,1989, requires employers to provide 60 days' notice of covered plant closing and covered mass layoffs, according to the commission. It generally applies to employers who have 100 or more workers. The commission responds to WARN notices by providing rapid response services to help employees find new jobs.

However, "A covered employer must give notice if there is to be a mass layoff which does not result from a plant closing, but which will result in an employment loss at the employment site during any 30-day period for 500 or more employees, or for 50-499 employees if they make up at least 33 percent of the employer's active workforce," according to the Texas Workforce Commission.

The 51 employees who lost their jobs at Crosby amount to about 11 percent of the total workforce at the facility.

Of the 51 workers, about 43 were at the business park plant before the Fisher Road plant closed, according to Burbick.

"They were lower seniority, in the one- to two-year range," he said. He estimated about 80 percent of the 51 former employees worked in manufacturing.

Burbick said all the laid-off workers are covered by the Teamsters union.

"With this being a union environment, we lay off by seniority," he said. And if Crosby's outlook looks brighter, the employees will be recalled to work based on seniority.

"At this point, I can't tell when" they will be recalled, Burbick said. "We go through these (business) cycles. I am optimistic about the future. It is just where we are right now."

The Teamster union representative could not be reached for comment Wednesday.

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