Local News

Harriet & Henderson Retirees To Lose Insurance Benefits At End Of Month

Posted November 26, 2003

— A federal bankruptcy judge approved a plan Tuesday to cut off benefits for retirees of

Harriet & Henderson Yarns

.

The decision will put about 150 people who used to work at the Henderson textile plant in a huge financial bind.

Dave Stallings, 83, retired 20 years ago from the textile mill where he worked for 52 1/2 years. He still laughs about landing his first job with Harriet & Henderson Yarns at the age of 13.

"You could go to work then at the age of 14. I told the man I was 14," he said.

Stallings is one of thousands of retirees from the now bankrupt textile mill who will lose their retirement insurance benefits at the end of the month. The textile company is selling off its assets and said it cannot afford to pay the retirees their benefits. A judge overseeing the Chapter 11 plan agrees.

"This particular company has gone to great lengths to communicate with all it's employees and former employees, and with respect to retirees in particular," said Harriet & Henderson attorney J.R. Smith.

The years have been happy ones for Stallings, whose life as a textile worker was portrayed in

Ladies Home Journal

magazine in 1952 when he bought his first house from the mill for $1.56 a week.

Stallings will still get his pension, but his other benefits are gone.

"With what Social Security I'm getting, I can barely get by with it," he said.

Stallings is not bitter about losing his retirement benefits from the mill where he worked for five decades. His mind is full of memories of when the mill was a thriving force in the community.

Within a couple of weeks, this building goes on the auction block and the final chapter of Harriet & Henderson Yarns comes to an end.

The cutoff in retirement benefits takes effect Dec. 1. Pensions will not be affected.

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