GUILFORD, Maine — Employees of True Textiles Inc. have been hit with another round of layoffs in recent days, according to Kurt Crisman, the company’s vice president of human services.
While he did not provide an exact number, Crisman said that since the layoffs began a few months ago, the company — formerly known as InterfaceFABRIC Inc. and Guilford of Maine — has reduced combined employment at its three Maine plants from about 650 to between 450 and 500.
Crisman, whose office is in the company’s Elkin, N.C., plant, said about 90 people were permanently laid off in January. That was followed by a reduction in the hours of operation from three shifts to two to help bring the operation in line with sales.
The company, which manufactures panel fabrics for the office industry, operates two plants in Guilford and one in Newport, all three of which have been affected by the layoffs.
“We really have just tried to adjust our production levels to what our sales needs are,” Crisman said Tuesday. He said the company had tried to avoid more layoffs by reducing the number of shifts for several weeks and alternating employee work schedules. ‘We did that for as long as we thought we could from a standpoint of being fair to people,” he said.
“We believe the latest moves we’ve made will align us to provide full running schedules for all our employees,” Crisman said.
U.S. Sens. Olympia J. Snowe and Susan Collins announced recently that the laid-off workers are eligible for federal Trade Adjustment Assistance, which provides employment training and income support, among other assistance. Trade Adjustment Assistance is for workers who have lost their jobs because of foreign competition.
“I think we’re like everyone else — we hope that the president’s packages will help the economy get better, which will in fact help all businesses, us included,” Crisman said.
Despite local rumors, True Textiles has no plan to close the Maine facilities, Crisman said. But he said that doesn’t mean his statement might not change tomorrow if the economy gets worse.
“We just hope everything moves in the right direction as far as the economy is concerned, and that will satisfy all businesses, not just True Textiles’,” Crisman said.