Local News

Plant Closing Puts 415 Out of Work

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CLAYTON — Champion Products' decision to closeoperations in this Johnston County town is putting 415 people out of work.The company will move its sewing and distribution operations to Mexico ina move to cut costs.

The company has operated in Clayton for nearly 50 years, and was itslargest employer in the 70s. The factory makes sports uniforms and activewear.

Mayor Doug McCormac said the closing would have an adverse economicimpact, but that he hoped it would not be permanent.

The county's unemployment rate is about 3 percent, due in part to BayerCorp., which employs 800, and to the proximity of Research Triangle Park,where many county residents work. But for those whose skills are limitedto the apparel industry, finding work in the area may be a substantialchallenge.

Some employees said they knew the shutdown was coming, especially asmanagement dismantled various areas of the plant. Others said theofficial word was a shock.

The closing will be handled in two stages, the first in May, the secondby mid-June.

In North Carolina, textile and apparel jobs pay range is from $8 tomore than $10 an hour, but wages in other countries for the same jobs areconsiderably lower.

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