La-Z-Boy to move some Newton operations to Mexico

MONROE, Mich. (WTOK) - La-Z-Boy has announced plans to move some of its operations from Newton to another plant it owns in Mexico.

A source says employees were given a 60-day notice, as required by law, on Thursday, Aug. 8.

General manager of the Newton plant, Daniel Simoneau, said the layoffs will begin in October.

"It was very regrettable and very difficult news to deliver but it was in the best interest for our company and the remaining employees that will be here," said Simoneau.

Newton Chamber of Commerce President Don Vares said he recently found out about the huge layoff.

"It has a direct effect on the community," Vares said. "Not just Newton but surrounding counties also. A lot of those employees travel from Lauderdale, Scott, Jasper and Neshoba counties also."

According to a news release from the company, La-Z-Boy will transition the leather cut-and-sew operation from Newton to its other North American-based cut-and-sew facility, which is in Mexico.

Simoneau said he believes a majority, if not all of the 105 workers affected in Newton can find a job at another plant across town that houses wood for La-Z-Boy.

The company says this change is expected to fully transition by the end of calendar 2019 and will impact about 105 of the 525 employees at that location.

“We regret the impact these actions will have on those employees affected and will provide outplacement assistance during the transition period,' said Kurt Darrow, chairman, president and CEO of La-Z-Boy Inc. "We greatly appreciate the contribution of each employee and thank them for their years of dedicated service. However, after an in-depth review of our supply chain, due to ongoing productivity improvements, we determined these moves will further optimize our operations and strengthen our competitive positioning in the marketplace.”

La-Z-Boy is also closing its Redlands, Calif., upholstery manufacturing facility and moving that production to other North American facilities. The Redlands upholstery plant currently employs about 350 people.

La-Z-Boy South in Newton was the company's first plant outside its home base of Michigan. It has operated there for 59 years.