La-Z-Boy Marks 50 Years in Newton

By: Rachel Alig Email
By: Rachel Alig Email

Newton's two La-Z-Boy plants employ hundreds of workers and company officials say they hope it remains that way for a long time.

During that 50 years of operation, over 50,000 people have worked at the two locations..

According to Don Mather, the plant's general manager, the plant and the community are one.

"What is a community if it doesn't have jobs for the community? They can't buy groceries. They can't buy clothes for their kids. Jobs are important," Mather said.

The Newton plant has been in operation for 50 years, and during that time has grown from 60,000 square feet to 800,000. The anniversary, however, was not just about the expansion. The main focus was the workforce."

"A facility like this that has been here for 50 years, that a company brought here looking for good labor and that it's still here 50 years later, speaks volumes of the workforce," said Mather.

"The work ethic of the people of Mississippi, just good, honest, hard-working people," said Mather.

One of those dedicated employees is Roger Wayne Maske, who has worked there for 48 years, the longest tenure of any employee.

"It hasn't the world to me," Maske said. "Get up and come to work every day, know you have a job; it's security."

According to the United States Department of Labor, the unemployment rate for May 2010 was 9.7%. Governor Barbour says it's companies like La-Z-Boy that will help in this slow economy.

"And in this recession, we've tended to do better at keeping the higher paying jobs," said Barbour. "We're tending to lose more of the lower-paying jobs and we don't want to lose any jobs."

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