Furniture company cuts employees with no notice

WINSTON-SALEM – United Furniture Industries terminated all its employees last week just days before Thanksgiving in a move that drew considerable backlash in the Triad.

Workers based in Winston-Salem were among those impacted.

The Mississippi-based company sent an email overnight just two days before Thanksgiving notifying staffers it was terminating all employees due to “unforeseen business circumstances” and telling them not report for their shifts.

The immediate termination applies to all employees with the exception of “over-the-road drivers that are out on delivery,” the memo said. “Your layoff from the Company is expected to be permanent and all benefits will be terminated immediately without provision of COBRA.”

That left laid-off employees without health insurance, according to reports.

During the summer, United Furniture Industries announced it was ending production at its plants in Winston-Salem and High Point. As a result, 271 people lost jobs, according to WARN Act notices filed in July with the North Carolina Department of Commerce.

According to last week’s memo, over-the-road drivers that were out on delivery would be paid for the balance of last week.

“Whether or not you have completed your delivery, please immediately return equipment, inventory, and delivery documents for those deliveries that have been completed to one of the following locations: Winston-Salem, NC, Verona, MS, or Victorville, CA location. To be clear, do not complete any additional deliveries,” a memo stated.

The mass layoffs at the furniture company joined a growing list of terminations across industries in recent weeks.

UFI makes promotional to mid-priced upholstered furniture in the U.S. under its brand and the Lane Home Furnishings brand, which it acquired in November 2017 from Heritage Home Group. The manufacturer also imports wooden bedroom and dining furniture.

By Randolph Record