Shaw Industries, Valley Head’s largest employer, to cut 160 jobs

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Shaw Industries is Valley Head's largest employer. (Photo: Carson Clark/WHNT News 19 file)

Shaw Industries is Valley Head's largest employer. (Photo: Carson Clark/WHNT News 19 file

VALLEY HEAD, Ala. - Shaw Industries, a company that makes different types of flooring, is cutting 160 jobs at its facility in DeKalb County.

Shaw is the largest employer in Valley Head, a small town of about 600 people.  The company said it is making changes due to a shift in customer preference from staple products to filament products.
"This product line has gone down which just has an impact on this plant because they're the only ones that produce spun yarn for us," said Al Scruggs, Human Resources Director of Shaw's Manufacturing & Distributions Division.

Shaw says it will provide immediate support to assist employees who are affected by the cuts.  They will try to place them at other Shaw locations, and Shaw is also partnering with ADECA, the Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs, to provide on-site assistance, to counsel associates, explain benefits, and provide out-placement and retraining.

Shaw says it is also contacting other employers in the area to inquire about other job openings for employees who don't stay with the company. "We have other facilities in the area, and we will allow some of those folks who want to go and look for other positions in other Shaw plants to do so," Scruggs says.

Scruggs says the plants are located in relatively close proximity to the plant in Valley Head. He says the employees will also have recall rights.

He says the move isn't reflective of the employees at the plant, but based on business.

"In the last 18 months, Shaw has announced investments of $342 million to expand its U.S. operations in hardwood, resilient, carpet tile, extrusion, distribution, and recycling," said Scruggs, "At full capacity, these expansions will create almost 1,000 jobs throughout the Southeast. As we continue to grow, we will continually adjust production to match market demands and to leverage our investments in more advanced technology."

Employees waiting to start their shifts on Thursday didn't know if they were included in the cuts, and say they feel for the employees who have already found out. "Sad," longtime employee Michelle Stuckey says, "A lot of them has got families they're trying to support."

Stuckey says she believes the cuts will have an affect on Valley Head. "Going to hit it hard," she says.

DeKalb County economic development officials say the plant employs people from across that area, and they say the cuts will have an affect, and also have an affect on DeKalb County as a whole.