Burlington denim plant phases out'
By By Fredie Carmichael / staff writer
April 2, 2002
STONEWALL The final months of Jo Dearman's 31 years of service at Burlington Industries' denim plant has been anything but a time of reflection.
Dearman, the office manager, said her workload has increased dramatically since Burlington officials announced earlier this year that the plant was shutting down.
Thursday was one of the worst days for Dearman. That was when the bulk of the plant's employees about 250 worked their last day on the job.
The North Carolina-based textile company filed for bankruptcy last year and announced it would shut down several of its manufacturing plants including Stonewall.
Burlington had been Clarke County's largest employer and has been operating the Stonewall mill since 1962. The plant has been in operation for more than 100 years.
So far, nearly half of the plant's more than 800 workers have been laid off. The rest will formally lose their jobs on a week-by-week basis until the end of April.
After that, a skeleton administration crew will remain at the plant until May or June.
Tony Smith, the Burlington plant's human resources manager, said the company is half-way through with its "phasing-out process of the plant."
Smith said the first employees to go were about 125 mostly entry-level workers on March 23. Then, he said, another 250 plant workers were let go last week.
The only positive thing to come from the closing process, Smith said, has been the many companies that have visited the plant to recruit employees.