Two days before Thanksgiving, United Furniture Industries executives fired “all employees,” including those who work at the plant at Southern California Logistics Airport in Victorville.
Employees received a text or email message from the company instructing them not to report for work on Tuesday as their jobs would be terminated immediately “due to unforeseen business circumstances.”
“Upon direction of the Board of Directors of United Furniture Industries Inc. and all of its subsidiaries, we regret to report that unforeseen business circumstances have forced the Company to make the difficult decision to terminate the employment of all of its employees. effective immediately, November 21, 2022,” the statement said.
In a second email, employees were told that “Your dismissal from the company is expected to be permanent and all benefits will be terminated immediately without the provision of COBRA.”
The company concluded its message by citing the “difficult and unexpected situation” that economists say is likely to include high gas prices, inflation and the war in Ukraine as key factors.
It’s unclear how many UFI employees were affected by the furniture maker’s decision to lay off its remaining workforce.
UFI Transportation furniture delivery truck drivers who are currently making deliveries “get paid for the rest of the week,” the company said.
The UFI statement directs truckers with cargo to “promptly return equipment, inventory, and shipping documents for shipments that have been completed to one of the following locations: Winston-Salem, North Carolina; Verona, Mississippi; or Victorville, California.”
Headquartered in Okolona, Mississippi, UFI manufactures mid-priced promotional upholstered furniture in the United States under its brand and the Lane Home Furnishings brand, which it acquired from Heritage Home Group in November 2017. The manufacturer also imports wooden bedroom and dining furniture.
A UFI truck driver was arrested in Monroe County, Mississippi, on suspicion of taking furniture from a truck after learning of the mass layoffs.
Audrey Garth, 37, of Wren, was arrested by MCSO MPs and charged with alleged grand larceny, according to Tippah News.
In 2020, Stirling Capital Investment announced the renewal of a lease for a 505,000 square meter facility with UFI.
UFI began furniture production at the facility in 2011 and extended its lease for a further three years, effective November 2020, Stirling said.
As of 2020, UFI employed more than 300 full-time employees at the facility, which serves as the company’s West Coast operating base.
To meet the growing demand for its upholstered furniture and other products, UFI announced in 2019 that it expects to hire around 500 employees.
United Furniture’s move added employees at its SCLA facility and in North Carolina and Mississippi.
During this time, the furniture company said it hired upholsterers, jumpers and frame builders, among others. Very experienced individuals can make $25 an hour or more. The company offers a complete package of benefits, including essential medical, dental, vision and 401K insurance.
“Our company is pleased to expand our workforce in the United States in response to continued and growing demand for our products, including our newly acquired Lane branded products,” said UFI President Larry George in a company press release from 2011 2019. “Our expansion benefits our customers, our industry partners, our existing employees and the communities we call home.”
Previous layoffs, closures
Furniture Today reported that UFI fired its chief executive, chief financial officer and executive vice president of sales in June. It appointed former Standard Furniture president Todd Evans as chief executive.
In July, UFI closed its plants in Winston-Salem and High Point, North Carolina, resulting in more than 270 workers losing their jobs.
Another 220 jobs were cut at the company’s Amory, Mississippi plant in late July.
Daily Press reporter Rene Ray De La Cruz can be reached at 760-951-6227 or [email protected] Follow him on Twitter @DP_ReneDeLaCruz