69 employees laid off from American Cotton Growers Sunday

Published: Aug. 18, 2014 at 2:02 AM CDT|Updated: May. 19, 2016 at 2:26 PM CDT
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LUBBOCK, TX (KCBD) - About 69 employees learned they were laid off from American Cotton Growers Denim Mill in Littlefield without severance pay on Sunday.

This is the second time this summer that ACG did reorganizing at the mill. About two month ago, 22 people lost their jobs.

This brings the number of total employees at the mill from about 420 earlier this year to 320; some from attrition, but most from the resizing that mill officials say is necessary for the company to move forward.

ACG Denim Mill is only one of four cotton mills left in the country.

"We all know that the retail environment continues to be very, very tough," said Bryan Gregory, vice president of ACG textile operations.

"Jeans are struggling some in the market. We recognize that there comes a point where we have to restructure and size our plant relative to what the market will actually support."

Consequently, after months of discussion, about 14 supervisors were demoted and 69 employees lost their jobs.

"It's more conducive to what we are doing right now with the number of employees we have and the equipment we have in our plant," Gregory said.

Gregory broke the news at a meeting for the remaining 320 employees whose jobs are secured on one condition:

"We have a company policy that we follow that says we will retain the people that have the most company seniority," he said. "We've been here for about 38 years, and a lot of our employees have been here for that full 38 years."

Since this is the second resizing just this summer, it has many of the remaining employees at the mill questioning if their job is next.

"We really believe that where we are right now should serve us very well," Gregory said. "I don't anticipate that we'll need to resize downward in the future, but we always have the ability to get good news and have positive change and potentially grow and add jobs back in the future."

The employees' last day at the mill is August 30.

Gregory says the reason for the lost jobs is because the denim industry is an unlevel playing field with exceptional competition with foreign countries.

He also said the cost of doing business in America just will not allow the company to dish out a quarter million dollars in payroll each week.

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