'Significant' layoffs at Foss Manufacturing

Upper management, line workers hit by 'economic climate'

By Shir Haberman

Hampton Union, Tuesday, January 13, 2009

[The following article is courtesy of the Hampton Union and Seacoast Online.]
The entrance to Foss Manufacturing on Lafayette Road in Hampton.[Deb Cram Photo]

HAMPTON -- What officials called "a significant layoff' occurred at Foss Manufacturing on Friday, Jan. 9. The layoffs represented an attempt by Foss owners to bring the company in line with current economic conditions, said Chief Operating Officer Bill Cummings.

An individual who identified himself only as one of the workers laid off Friday, indicated that a total of 114 Foss employees were told there were no jobs for them. Cummings said that number was a bit high, but would not comment on the exact number of workers who were laid off other than to say it was "significant."

"We're consolidating our shifts in order to bring our operations in line with the current economic climate," Cummings said.

Cummings added that the workforce cuts were across the board, involving both line workers and management personnel. The majority of the layoffs were at the Hampton facility located just off Route 1 in the center of town.

"A few were from satellite locations, but the majority ere from the main plant in Hampton," he said.

Asked if severance packages were offered to laid off workers, Cummings said he was "not going to get into that."

The individual who identified himself as one of those workers impacted, said the layoffs came as a surprise and that he was unaware of any severance arrangements.

Cummings said none of the company's product lines are being discontinued. However, there will be a rescheduling of when the production of some of the company's products would be done, Cummings said.

In April of 2008, the company announced an expansion. Officials unveiled a $1.5 million "J-Line," a state-of-the-art needle-punch line that was touted as allowing Foss, which processes woven fabrics and specialty synthetic fibers, to expand its operations.

Foss Manufacturing Co. LLC has been a global leader in the design and manufacture of non-woven fabrics and specialty synthetic fiber technology for more than 50 years. The current facility occupies 52,000 square feet of covered space on a 44-acre parcel in the center of Hampton.

As one of the world's largest needle-punch-based' manufacturers, at its peak it employed about 500 workers.

"But that's not the number that were employed yesterday," Cummings said Friday.

The company provides highly specialized, cost-effective solutions that are custom-tailored to meet the needs of virtually all applications and markets.

Foss has also been a leader in bringing new and improved non-woven products to market through its commitment to innovation and extensive research and development.