VF CORP. TO SHUT DOWN TENNESSEE SEWING PLANT

NEW YORK — VF Corp.’s workwear division will close a shirt sewing plant in Dickson, Tenn., in September, resulting in a loss of about 260 jobs.
The closure will be the third for the unit this year. Two other plants — in Mount Pleasant, Tenn., and Bassfield, Miss. — are scheduled to be closed before the end of 2000. The company said production is likely to be made up by plants in North Carolina, Texas and Oklahoma, as well as in Mexico.
Chuck McPherson, the workwear unit’s vice president of human resources, said that a tight labor pool had contributed to the decision.
“We have 2 percent unemployment in Dickson County,” he said. “Just finding applicants for jobs has been tough. We had over 400 people in the Dickson facility a year ago and were down to 260 when we made this decision.
“If we had been able to attract a larger work force, we might have chosen to make another decision,” he said.
In addition to four cutting centers, the remaining closures this year will leave VF Workwear with nine U.S. sewing plants, including three in Tennessee, plus two in Mexico, two in Costa Rica and one in Honduras.
McPherson noted that VF is working with state agencies to place affected workers in positions. Some will be available in the workwear unit’s cutting facility in Nashville, about 50 miles from Dickson, he said.
Last year, VF Workwear generated $640.2 million in sales, about 11.5 percent of VF Corp.’s total of $5.55 billion. The acquisition of three workwear companies — Horace Small, Todd Uniform and Fibrotek — bolstered sales, which rose more than 30 percent, but also added greatly to VF’s production base.

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