Days before Thanksgiving, a Mississippi-based furniture company laid off 2,700 workers nationwide—via text and email—while many of them were asleep.
United Furniture Industries laid off nearly all of its workforce in the state, as well as employees in North Carolina and California, and in a callous parting blow, it discontinued its healthcare benefits. employees, according to the report. After mass layoffs, a company driver was arrest for allegedly stealing furniture and a truck.
Now the company is facing at least three federal lawsuits in Northern Mississippi County. Toria Neal, who has been with the company since July 2014, filed a class-action lawsuit this week alleging United fired all employees except “drivers who crossed the road” shortly before midnight on Sunday. November 21 is a violation of federal law. She argued that United failed to give workers 60-day written notice. (Two other employees, Frances Alomari and Willie Poe, have filed a lawsuit against the company with similar allegations.)
The sudden layoff was a blow to the longtime employees of United Furniture, which operates under the Lane Furniture brand.
Jimmy Herring, 24, told The Daily Beast he was promoted to supervisor at a Lane factory in Trinity, North Carolina, a week or two before quitting. Herring said that before he and his colleagues left, they were making recliners for Lowe’s retail stores.
But at 11:56 p.m. Monday, the company sent him a text message while he was sleeping. He won’t see the digital pink slip until a day or two later.
Instead, his boss texted him the next morning, without providing many details, and announced that they were out of work. At first, Herring assumed they were given a day off because of the upcoming holiday. Then he contacted his colleague.
Herring, who worked for the company for six years, said: “They said we were all terminated. “I thought it was a joke or something.”
He said his reaction was one of “utter panic.”
“I didn’t know what to do, where to start,” Herring said. His girlfriend, Chey, is pregnant on December 8. even baby shower.
Herring isn’t sure if last Friday’s paycheck from Lane will be his last.
“Some people don’t even have cell phones,” Herring added of colleagues. “They have to go to the factory and find out that they don’t have a job anymore.”
Many employees and their relatives took to Facebook to protest the layoffs.
“Pathetic!! My brother, 64, received a text saying you no longer have a job!” wrote a North Carolina resident. “I hope these people endure the same treatment that my brother and the rest of the staff will face now, especially at the start of the holiday season!!!”
“Great business ethics United/Lane,” writes TJ Martin, an employee of a Tupelo, Mississippi factory who also spoke to the local news station. WLBT. “We appreciate the news of termination while on vacation and at 11:30pm.”
“I have spoken to many colleagues,” adds Martin, “and we are all utterly let down by a company to which we have dedicated our time and energy for many years and love to work. It was to provide for our family.”
Trade Publications Today’s Furniture publish United’s message to employees.
“At the direction of the Board of Directors of United Furniture Industries, Inc., and all its subsidiaries (“Company”), we regret to inform you that due to unforeseen business circumstances , the Company was forced to make the difficult decision to terminate the employment of all its employees, effective immediately, on November 21, 2022, with the exception of motorists on the road. delivery,” the layoff notice stated. “Your dismissal from the Company is expected to be permanent and all benefits will be terminated immediately if not provided by COBRA.”
“We regret that this difficult and unexpected situation made this necessary,” United continued, adding: “Thank you for your service and dedication.”
Last summer, the company fired its CEO, CFO and executive vice president of sales and laid off 300 employees. Today’s Furniture disclosure. The company then appointed Todd Evans as the new CEO. “Our industry is experiencing a severe decline in consumer demand,” Evans speak in July. “Our inventory levels remain high and new orders from our customers remain slow.”
United Furniture Industries has yet to comment on the layoffs.