Sibley plant to close; 116 lose jobs

By: Kristen Cosby
By: Kristen Cosby

It's another hit for the Graniteville textile company Avondale Mills.

Their Sibley plant in Augusta is closing, and more than 100 people are losing their jobs.

The company is struggling to survive after challenges here at home and overseas.

Workers at Sibley have jobs until June 28.

The 2005 train accident and chemical spill near Avondale Mills' Graniteville plant was miles away from the tracks outside the Sibley plant in Augusta, but it's hurting this place nonetheless.

Fewer trucks are shipping out denim these days.

Since the accident, the company has been forced to lay off close to 500 employees.

Now workers at the Sibley plant have been told it's closing, and all 116 will lose their jobs.

Stephen Felker, Jr. is the company's manager of cooperate development.

"We're a family business," he says. "We're emotionally attached to our people and our company and we hate to have to be faced with these tough decisions."

Tough decisions made after the accident crippled the company.

Machines inside the Graniteville plants were so corroded by the chlorine, they're still being repaired a year and a half after the derailment.

But the train accident isn't the only reason Avondale Mills is hurting. Take a look at the clothes in your closet and where they're made...global competition is also a big factor.

"We've been faced with a lot of competition from overseas. The Chinese in particular engage in unfair trade practices that have really bitten into our market share," Felker says.

Avondale Mills says they'll try to find jobs for Sibley workers at their other plants.

But there have been layoffs at some of those plants as well, so there likely won't be many jobs available.


Mailing Address: P.O. Box 1212 Augusta, GA 30903 Main Telephone: (803) 278-1212 Newsroom: (803) 278-3111 Fax: (803) 442-4561
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