Shaw announces 267 layoffs at Bainbridge plant

Published 3:38 pm Thursday, June 4, 2015


Production capacity shifts have led Shaw Industries Group, Inc. to downsize its Bainbridge manufacturing operations. Beginning in September of this year, the plant will begin mass layoff of more than 200 employees. — Shelby Farmer

In a letter dated June 4, Shaw Industries Group, Inc. informed the City of Bainbridge of an impending mass layoff at the Shaw Plant 70 in Bainbridge.

“This mass layoff will result in approximately 267 employees being permanently laid off,” the letter addressed to Bainbridge Mayor Edward Reynolds reads. “These employees will retain their employment until approximately October 15, 2015. Limited bumping rights exist within the facility, and the company is seeking to determine where there are job openings elsewhere in the company to which these employees might be able to apply. The employees have been told, however, not to count on their employment extending beyond October 15, 2015.”

Shaw has two plants in Bainbridge, 70 and 86. The effects of the layoffs at 70 on the other plant were not immediately clear.

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In a press release, the company said that it is “re-aligning” its production processes leading to a downsize of Bainbridge’s facility. The positions will begin being impacted in September before the final reductions in October.

“Shaw Industries Group, Inc. is re-aligning its production capacity to better service its customers. Over the past months, we have increased capacity at our fiber extrusion facilities in North Georgia and South Carolina to take advantage of technology investments that we have made in these facilities,” according to the release.

Industrial Development Authority of Bainbridge and Decatur County Director Rick McCaskill said that the news Thursday took him by surprise.

“It really hit me by surprise,” McCaskill said. “In fact, I didn’t believe it when I heard it. They are and have been a really valuable employer to Bainbridge and Decatur County, and it’s important to remember they’re not leaving, but it is a significant layoff.”

McCaskill said that the IDA is already working to see what it can do to soften the blow and is reaching out to other employers in the area that are expanding.

“We’ve just talked about a little strategy right now. I’m talking with Abraham Levy at Bainbridge Manufacturing, because he’s got a unique opportunity,” McCaskill said. “The fact that they’ve got jobs until Oct. 15 works really well with his timeline.”

The affected employees hold positions at every level from mechanics and operators to managers and superintendents.

McCaskill also said that the IDA will work with the Georgia Department of Labor to hold a job or employee fair.

“It’s an opportunity for our local industries,” McCaskill said. “A lot of people are doing smaller expansions, and a lot of people are seeing business is picking up. If we can get enough [industries] doing three or four hires, we may be able to soften that blow.”

In the Shaw press release, the company said that it plans to offer resources to help those affected.

“As the time for the reductions is nearer, Shaw’s Human Resources professionals along with the Georgia Department of Economic Development’s Rapid Response Team, will be providing counsel to associates, explaining benefits and retraining opportunities and providing out-placement.  Shaw will also work with the Rapid Response Team to set up a local job fair,” according to the release.

“We know it’s a big deal, and we’re treating it like it’s a big deal,” McCaskill said.

The letter also states that there are no unions representing the employees at the plant.

Shaw, a carpet and flooring manufacturer, is a subsidiary of Berkshire Hathaway Company and is based in Dalton, Georgia.

Editor’s note: This story has been edited to include comments from Shaw Industries Group, Inc.