Monday, December 27, 2004

The final piece of furniture made at the Pennsylvania House plant in Lewisburg, PA rolled off the line today, according to WGAL-TV in Lewisburg's web site.
The plant, which is owned by La-Z-Boy, was shut down when its work was outsourced to China. The closing leaves 425 people unemployed during the holiday season. The jobs didn't have to be lost. La-Z-Boy officials rejected a $37 million buyout package from employees despite the intervention of the governor of Pennsylvania. Workers speculated in interviews with local media that the buyout was rejected to keep them from becoming competitors. The workers say La-Z-Boy made sure the plant was bathed in red ink by buying a large number of unnecessary purchases during the past few months. One example: one day before the plant was closed, according to the report, a new truck and snowplow were ordered. Other large-ticket purchases were also made, the workers claimed.Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell said at news conference, "Somewhere we have to draw the line and say we can't lose everything to China."
The closing of the Pennsylvania House plant was made at the same time as closings of three other plants. La-Z-Boy officials said the manufacturing would be shipped to China.
As was reported in The Turner Report in November, so far, La-Z-Boy's plans have not affected the Neosho plant, which employs nearly 1,500 workers, but only because China still does not do as well with upholstery orders. That will likely change since Chinese officials are already working at improving in that area. La-Z-Boy officials have already indicated that when China is ready to handle production, they will waste no time in shipping it there.

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