A big US furniture company this week fired all of its 2,700 employees while they were sleeping, telling them in texts and emails not to come to work the next day, according to reports.
The mass firing on Tuesday by United Furniture Industries, which makes budget-friendly sofas and recliners for Simmons Upholstery, left thousands of employees including truck drivers and factory workers in North Carolina, Mississippi and California unemployed just two days before Thanksgiving.
“At the instruction of the board of directors … we regret to inform you that due to unforeseen business circumstances, the company has been forced to make the difficult decision to terminate the employment of all its employees, effective immediately, on Nov. 21,” the company said in messages to employees.
“With the exception of over-the-road drivers that are out on delivery. Your layoff from the company is expected to be permanent and all benefits will be terminated immediately without provision of COBRA.”
The privately held, Okolona, Miss.-based company could not be reached for comment.
Drivers were told they’d be paid for the remainder of the week and that they should immediately “return equipment, inventory and delivery documents,” according to the memo.
A UFI truck driver was arrested in Monroe County, Miss., on suspicion of taking furniture off of a truck after he was laid off by the company, according to the Daily Press.
It’s not clear why the two-decade-old company dissolved its operations so suddenly, but over the summer it fired its chief executive, chief financial officer and executive vice president of sales, according to FurnitureToday.com. Several weeks later, some 500 employees lost their jobs at multiple facilities in Winston-Salem, NC, and Verona, Miss,. and Victorville, Calif.