Pattison Sand cutting a quarter of its workforce

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Pattison Sand Company announced last week that it is reducing 25 percent of its workforce due to “changes in the market.” (North Iowa Times file photo)

By Audrey Posten, North Iowa Times

Pattison Sand Company began facilitating a 25 percent reduction of its workforce last week, according to the company’s sales and marketing manager, Jackie Lee.

“Recent changes in the market have forced us to make some hard decisions,” she said.

The Clayton-based company is known for mining silica sand, which is often used in hydraulic fracturing, a process that extracts oil and natural gas from the earth. In 2016, Pattison built a crushing plant to produce limestone aggregate material for concrete, asphalt, secondary roads, erosion control, base stabilization and more.

Lee said Pattison was employing 280 people prior to the reduction, which dropped the number to a little over 200. In a story with the North Iowa Times in the summer of 2018, the company boasted around 350 workers.

“The Pattison family wants to thank our employees for their service and loyalty to the company,” said owner Kyle Pattison in a statement. “We thank everyone for their understanding during this difficult period.”

“We will all feel this,” acknowledged Darla Kelchen, executive director of the Clayton County Development Group. “Our concern now is for the workers and how we can help them. Our main role is to serve as a connection point” to resources and employment opportunities.

Lee said Iowa Workforce Development had a team on site last week to meet with impacted employees. Northeast Iowa Community College is also available to help retrain workers, Kelchen added.

“Now is the time for the workforce to consider expanding their educational training,” she said.

They can seek out other Clayton County employers too.

“There are jobs here,” Kelchen stressed.

According to Lee, there is a chance some of the workers could return to Pattison in the future.

“As of today, based on our current forecast, we anticipate calling a portion of employees back in the first quarter of 2020,” she said. 

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