Shaw Industries Layoffs: Virginia Plant Closing Follows Alabama Plant Closing

Shaw Industries Layoffs
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Shaw Industries Announces Stuart Plant Closure for End of 2017

Shaw Industries Group, Inc. announced that it will be closing its solid hardwood facility in Stuart, Virginia. After decades in operation, the plant will close by the beginning of January, leaving around 160 employees out of work.

The Dalton, Georgia-based company, which is a subsidiary of Berkshire Hathaway Inc. (NYSE:BRK), announced that it is closing its solid hardwood facility in Stuart, Virginia. Production at the Stuart facility will continue through December 2017 or early January 2018.

Shaw Industries, which is the world’s largest carpet manufacturers, has manufacturing plants throughout the United States. Because of the changing marketplace and consumer tastes, the company has been consolidating plants across the country. The hardwood flooring division, in particular, has been under pressure as of late.

“As demand for flooring products shifts, Shaw is adjusting its solid hardwood production capacity. This realignment will result in the closure of the company’s solid hardwood manufacturing facility in Stuart, Virginia, known as Plant HT,” said Susan Farris, Shaw Industries’ Vice President of Corporate Communications.

The Stuart plant closure’s resultant 160 job losses will be a big economic blow for the tiny town of less than 1,400 residents. Terry Tilley, the Stuart town manager said, “I’ve been with the Town for 39 years and I’ve seen companies come and go but this one was one that really was detrimental to the town.”

While Shaw Industries said it is willing to help employees by giving them the opportunity to relocate to other Shaw facilities, few—if any—employees will be willing to move out of an area where they were born and raised for a job that pays less than $15.00 an hour.

In addition to the job losses and the increase to its unemployment rate, the town will also be hit by the loss of taxes and fees that the Stuart flooring facility paid to the municipality. The local economy will also suffer from the reduction in disposable income.

In addition to the Shaw Industries Stuart plant closing, the town hospital also just recently closed, leaving 120 local people without work. That means, between just two employers, nearly 300 workers (around 20% of the town’s population) will have lost their jobs this year.

Shaw Industries Alabama Plant Closing in 2016

In May 2016, Shaw Industries announced that it was consolidating production from its plant in Valley Head, DeKalb County, Alabama to other locations in Alabama and Georgia. In July 2016, the plant in Valley Head shut its doors, leaving 183 people out of work.

Shaw Industries said that the affected employees were free to relocate to other Shaw facilities after it closed. “As we engage in the consolidation process, jobs will be available at other Shaw facilities,” said Al Scruggs, director of human resources. “Shaw’s human resources team will assist associates with internal job opportunities and provide outplacement options.”

The 2016 Alabama plant closing was the second of two rounds of layoffs at the Valley Head plant. In 2015, the Valley Head layoffs numbered 160, as the company started to shift production capacity away from the factory. At the time, Scruggs said the business was revamping its production capacity as customer preferences moved to staple products from filament.

After the first round of Valley Head layoffs, the facility was left with 195 employees. Just one year later, those who survived the first round of layoffs were also let go. Before the Shaw Industries layoffs, the company was one of DeKalb County’s largest employers.

 

Sources

Patrick County plant to close at end of year, 160 employees out of work,” WDBJ7, October 31, 2017.

Layoffs sweep across north Alabama,” Birmingham Business Journal, May 19, 2016.

Shaw Industries closing in Valley Head, 183 workers affected,” AL.com, May 18, 2016.

Shaw Industries, Valley Head’s largest employer, to cut 160 jobs this summer,” AL.com, June 4, 2015.

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