HUNTSVILLE — One of Scott County’s largest employers is in the midst of a mass layoff.
Tennier Industries, the community’s top textiles manufacturer, began informing employees of a mass layoff last week. The first round of layoffs will begin Thursday, and continue through November.
In a letter to employees affected by the move, Tennier CFO Lester Albert said it was a loss of contracts that initiated the layoffs.
“Due to the loss of contracts that were anticipated to be in effect, the company is having to (hopefully temporarily) reduce the number of positions at the Huntsville, TN facility,” Albert wrote. “This layoff is expected to be permanent for some employees unless new contracts are obtained.”
Albert said in the letter that Tennier is actively pursuing new contracts.
The notice to employees came under provisions of the WARN Act (Worker Adustment & Retraining Notification).
Tennier relies heavily on contracts with the U.S. military, as it manufactures sleep systems and other items used by the military.
Having those contracts end before new contracts are received is not unprecedented, and the current layoff does not affect only the Huntsville plant. While Huntsville is Tennier’s primary manufacturing facility, the company’s corporate headquarters are located in Delray Beach, Fla. Tennier also has manufacturing facilities in Sunbright and Waynesboro. Each of those sites are undergoing mass layoffs, as well.
Last week’s announcement will have a ripple effect locally. It isn’t just employees at Tennier’s Huntsville plant that will be impacted. The company also contracts heavily with Denim Processing in Oneida.
An employee of Tennier’s Huntsville plant told the Independent Herald that workers were told Tennier is not closing or selling, and that the company is actively trying to get new contracts.
“Every line’s contracts (at Huntsville) are ending around the same time, which is why they are having to lay mostly everyone off,” the employee said. “We were asked to bear with them while they work on getting contracts.”