The remnants of another landmark city textile manufacturer will soon close, leaving upward of 90 workers jobless. CHF Industries Inc. will stop making curtains at the 847 Pleasant St. plant on March 9, the company and city officials said Wednesday.
The remnants of another landmark city textile manufacturer will soon close, leaving upward of 90 workers jobless.
CHF Industries Inc. will stop making curtains at the 847 Pleasant St. plant on March 9, the company and city officials said Wednesday.
Established there as Louis Hand Inc. more than a half-century ago, a work force of more than 600 established its union shop as one of the world’s largest curtain manufacturers.
Now, less than a quarter of that number will remain as a warehousing center.
The city received notice on Jan. 10 under the federal Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notice Act “that all manufacturing operations will cease, and they will continue operating the distribution facility,” said Kenneth J. Fiola Jr., Fall River Office of Economic Development executive vice president.
Companies with 50 or more workers are required to give 60 days notice of closings and major layoffs to employees under the WARN Act. Fiola said they were notified that 84 factory, office and supervisory workers would lose their jobs by March 9.
A brief company statement said: “As a result of the elimination of the demand for the product produced in its Fall River factory, CHF Industries Inc. must cease all manufacturing operations at that location. CHF will continue to supply warehousing and distribution processes along with other support functions from this facility.
“Approximately 90 jobs will be eliminated in about 60 days as a result of this change in operations,” Tony Simoes, CHF human resources manager, read from a prepared statement. Simoes said he was not authorized to answer questions.
The city this summer sustained a dramatic loss of a manufacturing jobs when Quaker Fabric went bankrupt after decades as one of the city’s largest employers.
A total of 930 workers lost their jobs from a work force that at one time neared 3,000. Quaker, a publicly traded company, was known throughout the country for production of home furnishing fabrics.
CHF, a national firm with headquarters in Charlotte, N.C., and Chicago, according to its Web site, and was known after Louis Hand, which became Aberdeen Manufacturing after the latter company was bought by Chicago-based Crown Home Furnishing in 1979, according to a company history.
The 450,000-square-foot mill on Pleasant Street, just past Britland Park, has been in use as a curtain manufacturing company since 1945. As recently as 1996, Aberdeen reported adding hundreds of workers and surpassed more than 600 employees. Since at least 2000 it’s gone by CHF Inc.
“If there’s any silver lining at all,” Fiola said of the latest blow, “It is that these employees will be able to receive benefits and training services (under the federal Trade Readjustment Act).
“At least this will give them a chance to apply for two years of benefits so long as they remain in a training program,” he said.
There is little question those benefits will be available, because on Aug. 2 CHF applied for trade certification under conditions that significant losses were the result of foreign competition.
“This job loss is due to overseas competition. There is no question about it,” said Fiola, who did not have documentation on what conditions precipitated the certification application during the summer, barely a month after Quaker shut down.
The U.S. Department of Labor certified CHF’s eligibility on Aug. 21, he said.
A week ago, the state’s Rapid Response team, a part of the Executive Office of Labor and Workforce Development, along with the Fall River Career Center, gave a series of workshops for the impacted CHF workers, said Joseph Viana, Career Center director.
“We encouraged people that are affected to receive services at the Career Center just like we did with Quaker,” Viana said.
Linnea Walsh, spokeswoman for Workforce Development, said its Rapid Response team responded to a request it would provide any company in need or crisis. “We provided them information about the Career Center, unemployment benefits and the state Medical Security Program” for health care services.
There have also been reports that the company has reached out to area employers to seek jobs for their soon-to-be-displaced workers.
Quaker Fabric employees this summer similarly qualified for two years of Trade Readjustment Act benefits.
Quaker did not, however, provide worker notice under the WARN Act, a situation that is currently under litigation.
E-mail Michael Holtzman at firstname.lastname@example.org.