TUPELO, Miss — A Mississippi-based company that had become one of the nation’s largest furniture companies has laid off nearly all of its workforce.
About 2,700 workers, most of whom live in northeastern Mississippi, lost their jobs Monday, according to the Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal.
Just days before the Thanksgiving holiday, United Furniture Industries sent an email and text memo to employees late Monday night informing them not to report to their shifts on Tuesday.
A second email informed employees that “the company’s layoff is expected to be permanent and all benefits will terminate immediately without COBRA,” referring to the federal law that gives people who lose their jobs the opportunity to have their employer-approved sponsored health. insurance coverage under certain circumstances.
Some employees were fast asleep when the emails reached their inboxes. Others never saw the emails before going to work. Company drivers making deliveries were told to return immediately to a United Furniture location to return their trucks.
The memo said the layoffs were made at the behest of the company’s board of directors and were due to “unforeseen business circumstances”. The memo did not contain specific details about what led to the layoffs.
The company’s communications team did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
United Furniture Industries, based in Okolona, Miss., makes furniture under its brand and the Lane Home Furnishings brand, which it acquired from Heritage Home Group LLC in 2017 for an undisclosed sum. Lane was founded in Virginia in 1912 and merged with Tupelo-based Action Industries in 1972.
Furniture Today, a trade journal, reported that United fired its CEO, Chief Financial Officer and Executive Vice President of Sales in June. It then named Todd Evans, the former president of Standard Furniture, an Alabama-based company, as its new CEO.
In addition to eight plants in Mississippi, United also had six plants in North Carolina and one in California. Layoffs also occurred at the North Carolina and California locations.