Linden Lumber terminates 100+ workers

Published 12:00 am Thursday, November 1, 2007

LINDEN &8212; An unspecified number of employees, anywhere from 115 to 150, received pink slips from Linden Lumber Company Thursday afternoon, as the company terminated workers following a round of layoffs less than a month ago.

Golson, an employee that spoke to the Marengo County Commission in support of a proposed $7 million loan to the company said he no longer agrees that the county should support the company.

Golson said he approximates 150 other employees were terminated Thursday in the same manner as he.

Email newsletter signup

Other employees of the company reported being taken in groups of eight to 10 and being dismissed or told of other employees dismissals, resulting in uncertainty as to the total number of employees terminated.

Twenty-eight year veteran of Linden Lumber Company, Skeeter Yelverton, was also terminated Thursday evening, however, he said he continues to support Linden Lumber Company and its administrators&8217; efforts made for the company&8217;s survival.

Marengo County Commissioner Freddie Armstead also said the mass termination was a step for the survival of the company

Representatives from Wachovia Bank, which took over the operating loan of Linden Lumber Company in September, are working with the company and were present on site this week.

Armstead said he could not confirm the total number of the terminations, but said the commission is still looking at angles to assist the company.

When asked about a potential buyer for the company, Armstead said: &8220;We&8217;re still looking to take every avenue that we possibly can.&8221;

Linden Lumber Company laid off 85 workers on Oct. 15. The layoff in October was credited to &8220;extremely poor market conditions and limited working capital availability.&8221;

The company made the announcement to their employees via a memo from Chief Operating Officer Hugh Overmyer.

According to some employees of the company, who spoke on condition of anonymity, no memo was distributed for the recent round of terminations.

The county commission last month unanimously approved a loan of $7 million to Linden Lumber Company in an effort to stave off foreclosure and to save approximately 425 jobs at the site.

The loan has not yet been made. The county is still awaiting the audit results.

The commission has the authority to annul the loan agreement if they are not satisfied with the findings of any of the audits or restructuring agreements.

The loan agreement includes four stipulations for the satisfaction of the county:

An audit of Linden Lumber conducted by an independent agency.

County approval of the restructuring of the loan with Wachovia Bank for the operating line.

County approval of restructuring of the loan with Federal Land Bank.

An independent audit of the assets on which the county would will be taking mortgage.

Under the agreement, the county will use a bond issue to borrow up to $7 million. They will in turn loan the money to Linden Lumber with an annual interest rate of 5 percent, not to exceed 6.5 percent. The terms of the loan extend for 20 years.

During a tour of the facilities of Linden Lumber in late September, Overmyer told The Demopolis Times that he expected no layoffs but would not rule out cutting personnel expenses through attrition.

When Linden Lumber leaders approached the county commission about the loan, they first offered to turn the business over to the county and walk away. Overmyer said that their main concern was protecting the 425 jobs.

During a public meeting in September on the loan, employees from Linden Lumber showed up and overflowed a county courtroom to show their support for the loan.

After repeated attempts to reach Overmyer, he did not return phones calls regarding the recent termination at the time of press.