Pink slips coming in Sugar Land

October 7, 2009 7:43:29 PM PDT
There was devastating news for hundreds of employees in Sugar Land Wednesday. Many will soon find out they no longer have a job. The latest bad economic news is right here in our own back yard. Ft. Bend County's largest employer, Fluor Corporation, says it has no choice but to start passing out a lot of pink slips.

Fluor is the largest private employer in Sugar Land and it still will be after these layoffs. A company representative tells Eyewitness News there will be about 3,000 people still employed at the business after the cuts.

The company tells us the workforce reduction became necessary after an overseas project for which it was doing engineering work was cancelled.

Fluor Director of Media Relations Keith Stephens says, "Our business is very cyclical. It's based on what our clients are doing."

"It's a sign of the times," said Nick Madhani with Country Cleaners. "We were already hurting. This is gonna kill us now."

Nearby businesses, like the dry cleaning business, that depend in large part on traffic from Fluor employees, are already talking about how this will make their business suffer.

"One hundred to 150 customers I could be losing," said Madhani. "That's significant in a small business like this. That's significant."

Because the layoff is so large, 14 percent of Fluor's workforce at the Sugar Land location, the city of Sugar Land says Fluor was required to notify city hall of the cuts, which city leaders say it did yesterday.

Fluor says it will try to place laid off employees in other positions within the company or even help them find work elsewhere. Flour employees say they've been instructed not to talk about the layoffs.

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