Boss closing puts ball in BCCED#039;s court

Published 12:00 am Saturday, April 15, 2000

Once again the workers of Butler County have taken a hit as the county will lose approximately 100 jobs this June when Boss Manufacturing closes their facility here after being a part of the community for more than 40 years.

Butler County, which at last count was placed second in the state in unemployment (actually tied for second with Lowndes County), will surely miss the jobs that Boss supplied over the years and it suddenly becomes even more important for our city and county leaders to continue their fight to bring the residents here new and better jobs.

The plant, which opened as Riegel Manufacturing in 1950, was purchased by Boss in 1961. For many years during the 60s and 70s the Greenville plant was the largest work glove manufacturer in the world with more than 700 employees.

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News of the closing had been just a rumor for some time. The closing comes after many years of downsizing for Boss. Increased competition from imported products, mostly Asian, has made it economically impossible for the manufacturer to continue making its own products.

The Butler County Commission for Economic Development and the Butler County Industrial Development Authority face a tough battle in trying to replace these jobs; however, now there is a spec building on prime property in the Greenville Industrial Park, although this was not the ideal way to get it.

Hopefully, those who are seeking to bring jobs to Butler County have already been on the phone and are making plans to fill the vacant building with a company that will have an even longer and richer history in Butler County than Boss had. Ricky McLaney with the BCCED said his office had already made contacts with a number of companies that have shown some interest in the building.

There has been a trend here that when one company moves out another moves in. But, the time between has hurt many of our residents who have lost income, seniority and confidence in the workplace. Boss officials said Boss has applied for and received approval for TRA benefits for the employees who are now jobless. These benefits will provide re-training, re-schooling and extended unemployment benefits for those employees as they begin their trek into new jobs and careers. But, nothing can substitute for the comfort that comes with a steady job and a steady paycheck.

All things take time, but it is our hope that good news will come regarding the abandoned facility very soon.