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Fruit of the Loom Cuts 2,200 Jobs

November 11, 1997

CHICAGO (AP) _ Fruit of the Loom Inc. on Tuesday announced it plans to lay off at least 2,200 workers and close a Louisiana manufacturing facility as it works to move to cheaper offshore production plants.

The Chicago-based company said it has given 60-day notices to 1,035 employees in Kentucky _ 220 employees at a plant in Campbellsville and 815 people in Jamestown. In Louisiana, 1,235 people were losing their jobs _ 920 sewing and support staff in Jeanerette, La., and 315 sewers at an Abbeville Mills plant, which was being closed.

Workers at a fifth Fruit of the Loom plant also were being given notice, said company spokesman Mark Steinkrauss, who declined to name the facility or the number of workers affected until the employees had been notified.

The job cuts are the second in three months for the apparel maker. Fruit of the Loom in October completed cutting more than 4,000 jobs as part of an effort announced in August to compete more effectively in the global market.

``We face competition from both inside and outside the United States that forces us to constantly re-evaluate our cost structure,″ Steinkrauss said Tuesday. ``We have to shift to lower-cost manufacturing, react to our inventory levels and consumer demand _ all factors affecting the announcements we made earlier today.″

Fruit of Loom said earlier this year it hopes to cut costs by $100 million over three years by moving 80 percent of its manufacturing offshore to company plants and contractors. Since 1994, the company has increased sewing operations in Mexico, Central America and the Caribbean, Steinkrauss said.

When the current round of layoffs is complete, the company will have about 29,000 employees worldwide, he said.

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