Local News

January 6, 2010

Plant closing in Eton part of "consolidation strategy," Mohawk says

190 affected

ETON — 2009 wasn’t a banner year for the floorcovering industry, as the mounting recession forced several companies to close plants and lay off thousands of workers.

So far, 2010 hasn’t been much better.

Officials with Mohawk Industries said Wednesday the company is closing a carpet tufting plant in Eton, resulting in about 190 layoffs. The plant is at 4140 Highway 411 North. Calhoun-based Mohawk Industries is the world’s largest floorcovering company.

In a press release sent out late Wednesday afternoon, Mohawk officials said the plant closing is part of a “consolidation strategy” that will merge the Eton facility with one in Dalton. The company expects “many” of those laid off employees to be “reassigned over the next 90 days.”

Tufting equipment from Eton will be relocated to Mohawk’s manufacturing facility on Antioch Road in Dalton.

“As that relocation is phased in, as many Eton tufting employees as possible will be offered placement at that location,” the press release said. “The reallocation of operations will be staggered, beginning the first week of January, and will be completed by March 7, 2010.”

Jerry Hendrix, Mohawk senior director of human resources, did not immediately return a phone call Wednesday. A guard on property at the Eton plant prevented a reporter from entering the plant area.

In the press release, Hendrix said the consolidation was caused by the changing business environment.

“The operational restructuring is driven by needs to more efficiently deliver goods for our customers in a very competitive market,” Hendrix said. “It has nothing to do with the quality of the work force. These men and women at Eton have done outstanding work. We appreciate their dedication and commitment to our customers.”

In a three-paragraph letter dated Wednesday sent to Murray County sole commissioner David Ridley, Hendrix notified the county of the company’s plans. Ridley said word of the shutdown was “just very, very disturbing news. It’s sad for our community. Mohawk has been good for our community for many, many years.” He added, “We’re fighting and clawing everyday to retain jobs in Murray County.”

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