Meadowcraft employees concerned about future

Published 11:05 pm Friday, March 20, 2009

Meadowcraft Inc. employees finally received their paychecks after a day of uncertainty, but some remained concerned with their job security.

First-shift employees, who were turned away Tuesday morning when they arrived to work, came to pick up their paychecks at 9 a.m. Friday. Instead, a secretary handed them a letter that instructed employees to call a hotline number after 3 p.m. March 22 for further information regarding paychecks and work schedules. Employees did receive paychecks around 11 a.m., but many, including machine operator Shirley Ervin, were concerned with their job security.

“I really don’t think we’re coming back to work Monday,” she said as she held her paycheck in her hand.

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Meadowcraft Inc. Chairman Samuel R. Blount said he did not have an answer regarding employees’ future work schedules yet. However, Blount said he was optimistic about the future.

“I don’t know what’s going to happen Monday,” Blount said. “We will come through this.”

Doris Bates, a machine operator at the Selma plant for the past three years, said she felt neglected by the company and wants to know if she will have a job come Monday.

“You can’t pay your bills if you ain’t got nothing to pay them with,” Bates said. “Your lights will be cut off.”

Around 11 cars were parked outside the entrance gate to the plant. About 20 employees, some of which drove from as far away as Marion and Autaugaville, stood beside their vehicles, while a Dallas County Sheriff cruiser parked nearby.

Alice Evans said the company should have communicated with its employees before they drove to the plant Friday.

“They lied,” Evans said. “They even got the policemen out here.”

Along with providing a hotline number, the letter that employees received stated the company plans to continue operation and production.

Blount emphasized that the company remains committed to its 1,300 employees. He said sales were stronger this year than in 2008.

“I’ve been in this business 29 years,” Blount said. “We’ve never had the opportunities we have now.”