Mississippi-based furniture company United Furniture Industries fires 2,700 workers via text and email

A few days before Thanksgiving, a Mississippi-based furniture company fired 2,700 workers across the country via text and email, many of them while they were sleeping.

United Furniture Industries has laid off nearly its entire workforce in the state, as well as employees in North Carolina and California, and suspended employee health benefits in a heartbreaking severance package, according to reports. After mass layoffs, a company driver was arrested on charges of stealing furniture and a truck.

The firm now faces at least three federal lawsuits in the Northern District of Mississippi. Toria Neal, who has worked for the company since July 2014, filed a lawsuit this week alleging that it violated federal law by firing all of its employees except for “passing drivers” on Nov. 21 around midnight. He alleges that the United States did not give workers 60 days’ advance written notice. (Two other employees, Frances Alomari and Willie Poe, filed similar claims against the company.)

The sudden firings were a gut punch for longtime employees of United Furniture, which operates under the Lane Furniture brand.

Jimmy Herring, 24, told The Daily Beast that he was promoted to floor supervisor at the Lane plant in Trinity, North Carolina, a week or two before he quit. Herring said he and his colleagues were making seats for Lowe’s retail stores before the launch.

But on Monday at 11:56 p.m., the firm sent him an SMS while he was sleeping. He wouldn’t see the digital pink shift until a day or two later.

Jimmy Herring and girlfriend Chey are expecting a baby on December 8.

Courtesy of Jimmy Herring

Instead, the next morning, her boss texted her and told her they didn’t have any work, without giving her many details. At first, Herring assumed they were taking a day off because of the upcoming holiday. Later, he contacted his colleagues.

“They said we were all fired,” said Herring, who has been with the company for six years. “I thought it was a joke or something.”

He said his reaction was “complete panic”.

“I didn’t know what to do, where to start,” said Herring, whose boyfriend Chey is expecting a baby on Dec. 8. including a children’s bath.

Herring isn’t sure if the paycheck she received from Lane last Friday will be her last.

“Some people don’t even have cell phones,” Herring added of his colleagues. “They had to go to the plant and find out they didn’t have a job anymore.”

Many workers and their relatives took to Facebook about the layoffs.

“Sad!! They sent a message to my 64-year-old brother that he no longer has a job!” A North Carolina resident wrote. “I hope these workers have to face the same treatment as my brother and the rest of these workers, especially with the start of the holidays!!!”

“Fantastic business ethics United/Lane,” wrote TJ Martin of the Tupelo, Mississippi plant, speaking to local news station WLBT. “While on vacation and at 11:30 p.m. we appreciate the termination notice.”

“I’ve spoken to numerous colleagues,” Martin added, “and we’re all completely let down by a company that we’ve devoted our time and energy to for years and love to provide for our families.

Trade publication Today’s Furniture He posted a message to United’s staff.

“United Furniture Industries, Inc. and all of its subsidiaries (the “Company”), we regret to inform you that due to unforeseen business circumstances, the Company has been forced to make the difficult decision to cease operations. Effective November 21, 2022, all employees will be terminated, except for unassigned derailment drivers,” the layoff notice said. “Your termination from the Company is expected to be permanent and all benefits will be terminated immediately without COBRA coverage.”

“We regret that this difficult and unexpected situation has necessitated this,” United said, adding: “Thank you for your service and dedication.”

Last summer, the company fired its CEO, CFO and executive vice president of sales and laid off 300 employees. Today’s Furniture revealed. The firm then appointed Todd Evans as its new CEO. “Our industry is experiencing a sharp decline in consumer demand,” Evans said in July. “Our inventory levels remain high and new orders from our customers remain slow.”

United Furniture Industries has not yet commented on the firings.

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