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Pickering: Nissan to host job fair at Burlington plant

By By Chris Allen Baker/staff writer
Jan. 26, 2002
STONEWALL Nissan Motor Co., which is building a $930 million auto plant in Madison County, plans to host a job fair at the Burlington Industries plant here next month.
U.S. Rep. Chip Pickering, the Republican 3rd District congressman, announced the Feb. 7 job fair during a news conference Friday. Pickering spoke at the Burlington plant, which is expected to close March 31.
The congressman's visit to the Burlington plant came two weeks after the company announced it will sell or close the Stonewall site by March 31 leaving 820 people without jobs.
The company is closing its denim division plants in the United States, blaming foreign competition and a weak economy.
The Stonewall plant has been in operation since the 1860s and is Clarke County's largest employer. Burlington, headquartered in North Carolina, has owned and operated the plant since 1962.
Tony Smith, human resources manager at the Burlington plant, said production is expected to end in late March or early April.
On Friday afternoon, Pickering toured the Burlington plant and visited with employees briefing them about how state and federal officials are trying to help them.
At a late afternoon news conference, Pickering told reporters that he and U.S. Sens. Thad Cochran and Trent Lott have asked the U.S. Department of Labor to help Burlington workers.
Pickering said that, among other things, the Labor Department could extend unemployment benefits to 72 weeks.
Pickering said the mood among workers he visited was "amazingly upbeat." The congressman praised Burlington employees as being well trained and loyal.
Now, he said, the top priority is to "aggressively market this facility" and help find another industry to move into the plant keeping the current workforce employed.

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