According to a report on the local television news in the Tri-Cities area of
Tennessee, hundreds of local jobs are at stake as AFG Industries Inc., a major
area manufacturer, has announced plans to close plants and cut jobs. The news
report cites AFG as the nation's second-largest glass manufacturer with 4,500
employees, 1,160 of those in Tri-Cities factories. Now workers in Church Hill,
Tenn., Kingsport, Tenn., and Abingdon, Va., are worried about their future.
The announcement, which came Thursday June 2 in a video presentation from president
and chief executive officer John Litzinger, described an "aggressive"
strategy in which restructuring efforts would attempt to cut costs by at least
10 percent. The plan is to be fully implemented by July 1. Additional reorganization
has already occurred with the introduction of automated machines, which stack
and move glass within the plants, eliminating the need for some manual laborers.
So far, the company has not offered specifics about which plants will receive
the brunt of the new strategies. A call by USGNN to AFG for comment has not been