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UNIFI TO CUT 150 REIDSVILLE JOBS BY OCT. 1 THE COMPANY WILL MOVE SOME OPERATIONS TO A PLANT THAT HAS NEWER EQUIPMENT.

UNIFI TO CUT 150 REIDSVILLE JOBS BY OCT. 1 THE COMPANY WILL MOVE SOME OPERATIONS TO A PLANT THAT HAS NEWER EQUIPMENT.

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Unifi will move the polyester texturing operations performed at its Reidsville plant to its larger, more efficient facilities in Yadkinville, leaving 150 people out of work in Reidsville.

The move, expected to be completed by Oct. 1, will mean the addition of about 100 positions in Yadkinville, about 75 miles from Reidsville in Yadkin County, Unifi said.Greensboro-based Unifi is one of the world's largest producers and processors of multi filament polyester and nylon textured yarns, and related raw materials. Those yarns are found in apparel, automotive upholstery, home furnishings, hosiery, industrial fabrics and sewing thread.

"Oh, my God," Reidsville City Manager Kelly Almond said when he heard the news. "This is another blow to our economy in Rockingham County. We keep losing them (industries) and are not able to replace them at the same pace."

Company officials told employees about the department's closing at a meeting Wednesday morning.

Efforts to contact employees Wednesday were unsuccessful.

The move to Yadkinville was made to bring more efficiency to the company's domestic polyester texturing operations and because it could be accomplished with little cost to the company, said William M. Lowe Jr., chief operating officer and chief financial officer for Unifi.

Equipment at the Yadkinville plant is newer and more automated than that in Reidsville, Lowe said. Unifi does not plan to move equipment from the Reidsville plant to Yadkinville.

"We regret the impact that this change will have in Reidsville and Rockingham County," he said, "as our employees there have performed well on the equipment within that facility. "

Texturing employees in Reidsville will be offered a chance to transfer to Yadkinville or to one of the other Unifi facilities. But Lowe said he did not expect facilities other than Yadkinville to have more than a handful of openings.

Unifi also employs about 650 people in its texturing and dye operations in Reidsville and nearby Mayodan. It also owns a joint venture with South Africa's SANS Fibres in Stokesdale in neighboring Stokes County. That plant produces industrial yarns.

The impact on the dye operations in Reidsville is expected to be minimal.

"It does not represent a reduction in the domestic polyester texturing capacity for Unifi, nor does it change our on going commitment to the dyed yarn operations that continue to be based in the Reidsville plant," Lowe said.

Local officials were thankful for that, noting that Unifi has been a strong corporate citizen in the area. The Reidsville plant has been part of Unifi since the company bought Madison-based Macfield in 1991.

"The bright spot is they are not closing the plant," said Almond, the city manager .

Lowe said the company is looking at ways to increase its dye business.

Only about a dozen of the employees being laid off are near retirement age. More of the older employees work in the more skilled dye operation, Lowe said.

\ Contact Carla Bagley at 627-1781, Ext. 120, or cbagley@news-record.com

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