The plant announced today that it will close its doors at 365 Patterson Ave. by Nov. 28. Calls to the office were not immediately returned, and officials at Mohawks corporate headquarters declined to comment outside of a written statement.
However, Fort Oglethorpe Mayor Ronnie Cobb said the sluggish housing market is to blame for the shutdown. Fewer houses are being built so less carpet is needed, he said.
I guess it surprised me in a way, but the way the economy is going it wasnt that big of a surprise, he said. Its not going to get better.
According to the companys statement, Mohawk will also shut down a plant in South Carolina that employs 137 people.
These plant closings are a classic example of how changing consumer preferences impact a manufacturing company during a prolonged economic downturn, said Jerry Hendrix, senior human resources director for Mohawks flooring division. Companies have no choice other than to respond to these changes. My heart goes out to the men and women at both of these locations and to all of the American employees facing similar situations.
Cobb said he met with a local Mohawk official yesterday to discuss the situation. The city has offered to try to recruit new industry to the building, Cobb said, but no official plan of action has been agreed upon.
Although figures were not immediately available, Cobb said Mohawks departure would affect the citys tax base as the City Council works on its budget for 2009.
In a press release, State Labor Commissioner Michael Thurmond said today that the Georgia Department of Labor will provide assistance to employees who are expected to lose their jobs.
The layoff at Mohawk Industries in Fort Oglethorpe will create an unfortunate situation for the workers and their families, said Thurmond. Georgia Department of Labor staff will meet with them as soon as possible to explain the services available to help them get back to work as quickly as possible.
The labor department provides a wide range of transitional services to laid-off workers. The department also conducts job search workshops, career counseling, and provides resource centers in each office. Some job seekers may also be eligible for occupational/skills training, on-the-job training, General Education Development (GED) preparation and testing, and supportive services such as child-care assistance, transportation assistance and meals while enrolled in full-time training.
Catoosa County is served by the departments Northwest Georgia Career Center, at 96 Stuart Road in Fort Oglethorpe. Call (706) 861-1990 for information.
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