United Furniture Industries has laid off its entire workforce, affecting people at six North Carolina facilities including Winston-Salem.
Employees heard about the layoffs through an email sent days before Thanksgiving, telling them not to show up for work shifts. A second email informed them that the layoffs were expected to be permanent and that all benefits would be terminated immediately.
The company cited “unforeseen business circumstances” and offered no other explanation for what led to the move.
No NC WARN Notice was on the North Carolina Commerce Department’s listing, which is usually required when companies announce mass terminations.
In 2014, United Furniture announced it would spend over $5 million to expand the former HanesBrands facility on Hanes Mill Road and add 200 employees.
In June, the company announced almost 200 layoffs at that location and about 70 more in High Point.
Winston-Salem Mayor Allen Joines says the city hasn’t heard from the company about exactly how many workers will now be displaced at the facility with the company’s closure. But he estimated the number to be about 50.
“I spoke this morning with our workforce development program at the regional council," he says. "And they’re prepared to do a rapid response team to work with employees to help them prepare for seeking jobs.”
United is headquartered in Mississippi, where the majority of the roughly 2,700 total layoffs occurred.