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Bush Hog closing Telford plant

NET News Service • May 18, 2009 at 12:00 AM

TELFORD — Nearly 150 local factory workers will lose their jobs by July 14, and if the owners of Bush Hog LLC can’t sell the company’s Telford plant those jobs will be lost permanently.

That’s the message from a “WARN Act” letter to local elected officials, which also notes that even if CC Industries manages to sell the 6-year-old plant, a buyer will have “the right to select which of the company’s employees, if any, it retains.”

The 1988 Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act requires companies to inform local governments of pending mass layoffs.

The May 12 letter from Bush Hog President Duane Prentice officially puts the fate of Bush Hog’s workers in the hands of a potential buyer. Bush Hog’s headquarters are in Selma, Ala., and its Chicago-based owners first announced in January they are looking to sell the company as a whole or in parts.

Washington County Mayor George Jaynes, who was instrumental in bringing Bush Hog to the Washington County Industrial Park early this decade, sounded a philosophical tone about the situation Monday.

“It’s sad to see ... but everything is on supply and demand,” Jaynes said. “You have to have customers to be able to buy.”

Jonesborough Mayor Kelly Wolfe said a potential closure isn’t surprising considering the state of the overall economy, but added that he is hopeful about the industrial park’s prospects regardless of the short-term outcome.

If another company doesn’t step in by June 30, Wolfe said, local leaders and the Economic Development Board will have an impressive facility to market themselves.

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