Mazer Slams the Doors, Dumps 200 Employees

The Mazer Corporation, to quote their website, "is a fully integrated content developer and manufacturer of instructional media serving educational publishers, trade associations, government agencies, and Fortune 500 companies.

The Mazer printing company in Johnson City closed its doors Tuesday, December 30, leaving almost 200 people without jobs. Company officials are " not sure if they will be paid for Monday and Tuesday at this time, but the employees 401K plans are safe." (Really?) To quote one displaced worker, "There's a feeling of betrayal. This was a very dedicated and loyal workforce. You couldn't have asked for a better workforce."

Employees claim the company changed its health insurance policy earlier this year to read that within 24 hours of termination an employee would lose insurance. They are now jobless and uninsured. The company didn't give 60 days notice, it just slammed the doors. Ref. BHC December 31, 2008. Their website at mentions nothing about this.

Update: WJHL TV (January 23, 2009) reports more bad news for former employees of Mazer Corporation. They are finding out their health insurance was gone long before they were sent home...Three weeks ago Mazer Corporation told their employees they'd be laid off, but they left one thing out, that their health insurance had lapsed a month earlier. Some employees not only have no job, but got stuck with big medical bills. One employee got nailed for almost $10,000 and has "learned neither Mazer Corporation nor the insurance company broke any laws." Mazer Corporation won't talk to the press.

Another 600 Jobs lost

WJHL TV (December 16, 2008) is reporting Wyndham Vacation Ownership in Johnson City will close its center that markets vacation opportunities. The call center is expected to cease operations some time in February, a move that will cost 300 people their jobs. Johnson City officials claim to have a possible client for the shut-down Finger Hut building, but won't give specifics that could produce 300 jobs. This tends to be part of a pattern where companies change names, lower wages, get the corporate welfare, and we start again. I'm not claiming the two companies are related, it's just a pattern they use around here.

One former worker had this to say, "I worked there when it was Fairfield. Employee turnover was high then and I expect it still is. The telemarketers must meet a weekly quota or they are terminated. I never considered it permanent, just something to pay the bills while I looked for a less-demanding job. I really feel for all those folks who will be out of work."

WJHL also reported that AGC Flatglass, located in Kingsport, and Hawkins County announced they would be laying off more then 300 employees. They blamed the layoffs on lagging construction. But AGC knows what they are doing. To quote the press, "Hawkins County Industrial Board, along with Sullivan County has been in talks with AGC about offering tax breaks if the company was to expand to the area. If it were to happen, they would essentially restart the production line they closed last April, only gearing it more towards Solar products." I believe they better find a way to just keep them here. The company website is at

The local press (December 10, 2008) reports Erwin, Tennessee and Unicoi County's jobless rate has remained about the same, even declining slightly from last year...The rate may be increasing after the local NN Ball and Roller Plant laid off about 30 workers. Plant manager, Frank Gentry says that he discussed the company's plan with his workers. He hopes that the layoffs are temporary, and that the workers can return after the holiday season. That will depend on the plant's customers' projected sales for 2009...

Ruby Tuesday posts wider loss on write-downs

MARYVILLE, Tenn. (AP) -- Ruby Tuesday Inc. said Wednesday it posted a wider loss in the second quarter this year than last because of restructuring costs and a nearly 10 percent drop in revenue as consumers cut spending. The company said it lost $37.4 million, or 73 cents a share, in the three-month period ending Dec. 2. That compares to a loss of $10.4 million, or 20 cents a share, in the same period last year. The results include a pretax charge of $56.2 million, or 71 cents per share, to cover restructuring its property portfolio and a $19 million drop in the value of its intangible assets...Ruby Tuesday did not release results excluding those one-time items. The mall at Johnson City has a Ruby Tuesday and along with Washington County, Tennessee has already lost 700 jobs since December. (Local Channel 5, 6 January 2009.)

To quote BHC January 4, 2009, Back in November, the Tri-Cities Labor Market Report prepared by ETSU revealed the region lost 2300 jobs in the third quarter of last year. By our calculations, since then at least 700 more have become unemployed. So, what can we expect from 2009? More of the same, according to ETSU Professor Steb Hipple. "We are going to continue to see rising unemployment declining employment, falling output, declining retail sales."

Morristown KIA Closes

In nearby Hamblen County, Tennessee one of the largest KIA dealerships in the Southeast slammed the doors in Morristown. 50 people lost their jobs and the community has an 11 percent unemployment rate. The dealership once employed 100. The community has drawn controversy as an illegal alien mecca as Mexicans and other illegal Latinos have displaced thousands of local residents in many factories. Between 3000 and 6000 illegal aliens and their families reside in the community. They cause a disproportionate amount of the crime including drug running, assault, murder, identity theft, etc. December 2008

Might Get 20 Jobs in Five Years

BHC (December 12, 2008) is reporting the Seaman Corp. in Bristol, Tennessee opened a $5.5 million liquid coating line. The Ohio based company plans to spend $7 million. Seaman produces specialty fabric using cutting-edge weaving and coating formulas. The fabrics are used for truck tarps, landfill liners, inflatable recreational and boating products, and military products such as shelters and fuel containers. They might add 20 jobs over the next three to five years. Their website is at

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