United Furniture Industries is laying off hundreds of employees

The company filed a WARN notice, sending a letter to the state Department of Commerce explaining the layoffs.

HIGH POINT, N.C. — United Furniture Industries is laying off nearly 300 employees from its High Point and Winston-Salem facilities.

The furniture company is said to be one of the fastest growing and largest manufacturers of upholstery and case goods in the country.

North Carolina Department of Commerce received a letter from the company on July 1st, explaining the layoff.

The letter was issued in accordance with the Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act or ‘WARN’.

According to the North Carolina Department of Commerce website, after a business files a ‘WARN’ notice, a rapid response team is deployed to help.

The ‘WARN’ notice sent to the Department of Commerce stated that United Furniture Industries Inc. is permanently closing its plant in High Point, located at 315 Kettering road.

The effective closing day is August 30th, 2022 which will result in the layoff of 72 employees.

The notice also said United is permanently terminating 199 manufacturing employees who work at the facility in Winston-Salem, located at 401 Hanes Mall road.

That layoff goes into effect on July 29th, 2022, leaving the facility with only 73 employees after. 

General Counsel of United, J. Andrew Payne constructed the notice to the commerce.

“There is no union at the aforementioned facilities and the affected employees do not have any bumping, transfer, or relocation rights,” the notice states.

United said they would have preferred to provide more of a notice of the plant closure and mass layoff but due to “unforeseen business circumstances” they weren’t able to.

The company said, “major customers of United unexpectedly decided not to purchase from united a substantial amount of inventory united manufactured pursuant to those customers’ forecasts.”

Because of this, United said it has led to a “significant financial crisis” that the company doesn’t think can be resolved without the closure and layoff.

United said in the letter that they will continue to explore alternatives before the shutdown and layoffs go into effect.

Randy Coble, Plant Manager at Tomlinson Erwin Lambeth in Thomasville, reached out to WFMY offering jobs to those impacted by the layoffs. Coble said, “we would like to offer the employees that are being laid off an opportunity to apply with us. We are a company that has been in business for 100 years and looking for experienced employees. Several of the positions that were listed as jobs being lost, we are actively hiring.”

The list of positions impacted by the United Furniture Industries layoffs is below:

More information on ‘WARN’: 

A Rapid Response team will be deployed within 48 hours of the WARN notice being filed. The team will assess the situation and work with company officials to plan the most appropriate response. Rapid Response teams provide the following services to businesses:

  • Developing a transitional plan of action best suited to the workers of the affected business.
  • Distributing information on public services for job seekers.
  • Developing a plan to access funds and services for workers, including Trade Adjustment Assistance and Pell grants.
  • Reducing worker absenteeism to achieve completion of production.
  • Sharing experiences from handling previous closures and layoff events.
  • Providing convenient on-site services to ease the transition for workers.
  • Offering specialized assistance, such as job fairs, financial planning workshops, and interest/aptitude assessments or other specialized services.

The Department of Labor website says the WARN act “helps ensure advance notice in cases of qualified plant closings and mass layoffs. The U.S. Department of Labor has compliance assistance materials to help workers and employers understand their rights and responsibilities under the provisions of WARN.”

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