AOM owners follow woeful Spring Air playbook
There's a right way and a wrong way close a factory, and nowhere is that more evident than Henry County, Va., which has been hammered by the recent closing of the American of Martinsville plant and the impending shutdown of Stanley Furniture's flagship Stanleytown factory.
Stanley, whose action will eliminate about 530 jobs, gave its workers several months advance notice and is trying to assist them with everything from applying for unemployment benefits to receiving money from a federal program that helps people whose jobs have been lost to offshore competition.
By contrast, American of Martinsville closed its factory and threw 225 people out of work without warning on April 16.
The AOM shutdown occurred about a year after the company accepted $280,000 in economic incentive money to move the production of sister company Barcalounger from Rocky Mount, N.C. to the AOM facility.
Hancock Park Associates, the investment firm that owns AOM and Barcalounger, clearly took its cue from Spring Air, the mattress producer that shut down all of its factories without warning in May 2009 and then filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy liquidation.
A new Spring Air has since emerged and a few of the workers have been rehired, but that's no comfort to the ex-AOM employees. AOM and Barcalounger filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy and Hancock Park is now attempting to sell what's left of the companies.
Regardless of the final outcome, the AOM workers deserved better. There's simply no excuse for such shabby treatment.