ICS Magazine

Burlington slashes 4,000 U.S., Mexican jobs

January 12, 2002
Burlington Industries Inc. plans to cut 4,000 jobs in the United States and Mexico, or more than a third of its overall work force, as part of a restructuring program.

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Burlington Industries Inc., once the world's largest textile maker that filed for bankruptcy protection last year, plans to cut 4,000 jobs in the United States and Mexico, or more than a third of its overall work force, as part of a restructuring program.

The Greensboro-based Burlington on Jan. 10 said a reorganization of its apparel fabrics business would result in 2,800 U.S. layoffs and 1,200 more in Mexico. The cuts were in response to "slowing economic conditions and continued import competition," the company said.

"We are moving aggressively to create more value for our customers and provide a broader range of new products and fabric innovation," said George W. Henderson III, company chairman and chief executive.

Burlington (www.burlington.com) also said it will close or sell manufacturing facilities at five locations in the U.S. and Mexico, resulting in the loss of 4,000 jobs, or about 29 percent of its work force, as part of a bankruptcy reorganization.

"We deeply regret the loss of jobs resulting from these actions," Henderson said in a Jan. 10 statement. "Continued pressures from foreign imports and unfair trade practices coupled with slowing and uncertain economic conditions have made it necessary for us to further reduce our U.S. capacity."

He said the company continues, "to lobby for legislation that enforces fair trade and supports a competitive U.S. textile industry." Burlington had fiscal 2001 sales of $1.4 billion, down 13 percent from the year before.

The 78-year-old company, which makes fabrics used in apparel and interior furnishings, filed for reorganizationunder Chapter 11 of the U.S. Bankruptcy Code in November, listing debts of $1.1 billion in court papers and blaming unfair trade practices and a flood of cheaper imports.

The company said at the time of its bankruptcy filing last year that it employed about 11,000 workers overall.

The plants to be sold or closed are in Mount Holly, N.C.; Stonewall, Miss.; Halifax, Va.; Clarksville, Va.; and Aguascalientes, Mexico. The company said the 2,800 U.S. jobs and the 1,200 jobs Mexico are being eliminated as a result of plant closings, capacity reductions at its Raeford, N.C., plant, and overhead reductions companywide.

Burlington plans to continue producing synthetic and wool products at plants in Cordova and Raeford; Hurt, Va.; and Yecapixtla, Mexico. All denim production will be done either at Yecapixtla, Mexico, or Navsari, India.