Three plants in Chambers County, Alabama, are closing their doors and sending nearly 1,000 employees to the unemployment line. WestPoint Home and Norbord delivered the news to their workers this week.
WestPoint Home's Fairfax fabrication and finishing plants in Valley will close for good in February. Across Interstate 85 in Huguley, Norbord is sending 90 people home for four weeks.
More than 850 employees at the two WestPoint Home plants have about 60 days before they're let go. They will shut down in February, and it's another example of the dying textile industry in east Alabama.
"There are approximately 1,000 remaining employees with WestPoint Home in the greater Valley area. But with all that's occurred in the recent months, they, too, can most likely expect to receive the same type of notice that the Fairfax finishing plant workers received," said Tim Bryan, Valley city administrator.
While WestPoint Home's jobs are leaving the U.S., the slumping housing market is having an impact at Norbord.
"Norbord manufactures pressed board, OSB board, and the demand for that has subsided recently," Bryan said.
To fight off permanent cuts at Norbord, 90 employees will sit at home until January. Despite these setbacks, this area has a bright future.
"It's tough this time of the year, the psychological impact, to get over. But I'm confident, as is the mayor and city council, that better days are ahead. We're focusing our energies, not on salvaging the textile industry, but on building on the automotive industry," said Bryan.