Steelcase to shift some manufacturing to Mexico following closure of High Point, North Carolina, factory where production will wind down in stages; first workers likely to be let go in about four months
HIGH POINT, North Carolina
May 12, 2014
(High Point Enterprise)
– The first workers at the Steelcase Inc. factory that's closing in south High Point could lose their jobs late this summer or early this fall, and some of the production there will be shifted to Mexico, according to a notice provided by the company.
The office furniture manufacturer announced last week that it would close the plant on Swathmore Avenue near the Archdale city limit in phases during the next two years. The closure will eliminate 264 jobs at the factory that's provided paychecks during the past four decades, formerly under Brayton International. Steelcase bought Brayton International about 30 years ago.
Workers at Steelcase will lose their jobs as their production duties are phased out, the company indicates in a Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act notice. Known as WARN, the act requires companies to provide advanced notice for plant closings and large-scale layoffs.
The first Steelcase workers could lose their jobs in about four months, the company reports. Production at the factory will wind down in stages through the plant's shutdown in February 2016, according to Steelcase.
The closing will eliminate the jobs of 212 hourly workers and 52 salaried employees. The production at the High Point operation will be shifted to facilities in Michigan, Alabama and Mexico, according to Steelcase.
Because production will be shifted overseas, local Steelcase workers should qualify for additional unemployment benefits under the Trade Adjustment Assistance Act. The legislation allows workers losing their jobs because of offshoring to receive additional employment training, relocation allowances to move for a new job and assistance with health care premium costs, according to the U.S. Department of Labor.
When Steelcase announced the closing, the company said it's part of the company's overall effort to reduce excess manufacturing and control costs.
"Even in relatively good economic times, we need to make difficult decisions in order to stay ahead," the company said in a statement.
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Based in Grand Rapids, Michigan, Steelcase is one of the world's largest manufacturers of office furnishings. The publicly traded company reported fiscal 2012 revenues of approximately $2.75 billion and has nearly 10,000 employees worldwide, according to the company's website.