Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Another Appalachian furniture plant bites the dust

Another furniture factory in Southern Appalachia has closed, this one a leader in "a controversial but ultimately successful campaign to persuade the federal government to investigate the pricing of wooden bedroom furniture pouring in from China," says The Roanoke Times.

The furniture makers proved "Chinese manufacturers were violating anti-dumping trade laws by exporting furniture at illegally low prices," and federal agencies imposed fees on the imports and distributing the money to the American complainants, Duncan Adams reports. Vaughan Furniture of Galax, Va. (near center of Encarta map), got $3.3 million over several years, enough to keep it going -- but in the end, not enough to keep it open. It employs 275 people and is the last factory of a company that once had five.

Founded in 1923, "The company expects to employ about 35 people as it moves forward as an importer, distributor and supplier to furniture retailers," Adams writes. "Vaughan Furniture will apply for federal benefits available to workers whose job loss can be attributed to foreign competition. The Trade Adjustment Assistance benefits can, among other things, help pay for job training, provide relocation allowances, extend payment of unemployment benefits and provide a tax credit for health insurance coverage costs."

The story is "Breaking News" on the Web site of the weekly Galax Gazette. The closing is the latest in a series on the Blue Ridge Plateau and adjoining Piedmont of Virginia and North Carolina. Adams calls the toll in the Old Dominion: "In 2007, Hooker Furniture in Martinsville, as well as Stanley Furniture, Ridgeway Furniture and Bassett Furniture Industries, all in Henry County, each closed a manufacturing plant, with related layoffs." (Read more)

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