529 more to be laid off

In addition to the 703 workers whose jobs came to an end last Friday, another 529 employees at Fayetteville’s Goodman Manufacturing plant have been notified that they will be permanently laid off in late November.

Despite the hopes of many here that the facility would continue operations indefinitely, the company’s plans to close the plant are becoming a reality.

“Yes, the operations in Fayetteville are winding down as announced over three years ago,” said Rex Anderson, director of communications for the company, in an emailed response to The Times Monday.

In recent meetings of the Fayetteville-Lincoln County Industrial Development Board, officials have discussed the visits of prospects looking at the large manufacturing facility as well as other area employment opportunities for Goodman workers. A two-day job fair was held Monday and Tuesday of this week at the South Central Human Resource Agency.

It was in early 2015 when company officials announced that the plant here would be shuttered no later than 2017 as its parent company, Daikin, moved toward consolidation of manufacturing, engineering, logistics, marketing and sales for Goodman and other product lines to one location at the Daikin Texas Technology Park just outside of Houston. While the park, a $417 million campus, opened in 2017 in Waller, Texas, operations at Goodman here have continued well beyond projected timelines.

Friday, Goodman filed another official WARN (Working Adjustment and Retraining Notification) notice with the Tennessee Department of Labor and Workforce Development, this one stating a permanent layoff of 529 workers, effective Nov. 27.

That brings the total number of employees affected here in Fayetteville to 1,328. Sources have estimated that approximately half of those are residents of Lincoln County.

All total, five WARN notices have been filed with the State of Tennessee. The first of those came in 2018 with 81 employees being impacted. Since June of this year, four other notices have been filed, the most significant of those being for the 703 employees whose last day was Friday and the 529 whose last day will be Nov. 27.

“This is part of the program that was announced several years ago when Goodman started the consolidation process of all the Texas and Tennessee facilities to the Waller, Texas, facility,” Anderson had said at the time.

Officials haven’t addressed whether any warehousing will remain at their other Fayetteville facilities, nor have they have addressed publicly future target dates regarding the transition. Employees here are represented by a collective bargaining agreement, a contract that was renegotiated in 2017 and extended to Nov. 1, 2020.

The Southern Middle Local Workforce Development Board’s area rapid response team, employed by South Central Tennessee Development District, has been notified to coordinate services with the employer and affected employees, according to each of the notifications.

“The Southern Middle Local Workforce Development Board will be responsible for the oversight of the continued follow up of rapid response and dislocated worker services associated with this event,” the most recent notice added. “If you need additional information or have questions, please contact the Dislocated Worker Unit at 615-253-6357.”

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