Russell Brands To Lay Off 190 Employees In Alexander City

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By Ashley Thompson

Some employees at Russell Athletics are starting off the new year with a pink slip.

Mayor Charles Shaw tells us he was shocked when he received news of the layoff.

"I received the letter yesterday afternoon at three-thirty and found out that there would be 190 people laid off," he says. "March 5th is the date that they will be laying off."

People who work in Mill number 9 were told they would no longer be needed at Russell Brands. Jerald Mask, who works in shipping, says employees were overwhelmed by the news.

"Right now it's devastating. It's right after Christmas and the first of the year and times are tough," says Mask.

The company, which specializes in embroideries, screen printing, and uniforms...released a statement that reads in part "Unfortunately the Alexander City decoration operation is no longer cost competitive relative to other production we have around the world." This lead some to believe the jobs would be moved overseas.

"It's very stressful when you lose your job and you know that the plant is closing and all the jobs are going overseas," says Alexander City resident Anne Ford. "I think we need them desperately, desperately need those jobs to stay here."

Russell Brands has been downsizing in the area for quite some time and Mayor Shaw says this may have been just a matter of time.

"It began here in 1902 and we had up to 7-8000 people until they started downsizing in 1998. We were down to a little over 900 people and losing these we'll be somewhere 7-750," he says.

Unfortunately, the days are numbered for so many people here and the mood seems to be that of sadness and uncertainty.

Mayor Shaw says the unemployment rate had dropped last month in Alexander City but says with the recent layoffs, the number is sure to rise. He says he is working very hard to try to bring other industries into the city.

 

Russell Brands told employees at their Alexander City mill that they'd be laying off 190 people, about half their work force. People we spoke with say this is a devastating blow to the city.

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