Instead of a memo, chains and locks informed Navisa employees they no longer had jobs.
When workers showed up for work, they were unable to enter the hanger manufacturing plant because of lock-fastened chains on the doors and fences. Robert Turner was one of those employees locked out.
"My supervisor came up to the car and just said, 'Hey Robert,'" Turner said. "He said it in a slow voice. You know, I didn't know something was up. He said, 'Look, there's not going to be work here today.' I said 'Huh?' He said, 'Well, the plant's closed.'"
Turner says that is how a number of Navisa employees heard the news. For some, it was a shock, but for others, it was a case of déjà vu.
Only three years ago the same plant -- under different owners -- announced layoffs just before the holiday season. It was Navisa who stepped in and saved the day by buying the business and rehiring the workers.
Now, several of those same employees say this closure would have been easier to accept if the company would have just given them advanced notice.
"They should have let us know that something was going down and we could go ahead and adjust to this that was coming," Turner said.
Turner says supervisors were told that Navisa's inability to compete with China was the reason the facility closed.
KBTX attempted to contact Navisa officials at their base office in Houston for a response. Repeated phone calls were not returned.
Despite employees finding themselves locked out of one job, the community is pulling together to unlock other opportunities. Wesley Brinkmeyer is the project manager for the Brenham Economic Development Foundation, and says good news could be coming.
"The silver lining to the dark cloud is that manufacturers right now just started their new hiring phase, so this is the time that the Navisa employees have a good time and a good chance of hopefully finding some work," Brinkmeyer said.
Miranda Meier of Workforce Solutions says area employers and agencies heard about the sudden layoffs and are looking at ways they can help.
"We will be having an orientation for the laid off employees from Navisa at the Blinn College Brenham Campus Student Center conference room beginning at 2 o'clock," Meier said.
During orientation former employees can learn from Texas Workforce Commission staffers, who will help former employees understand and apply for unemployment claims and benefits. Representatives from Blinn College will provide workshops on job search strategies, resume writing, interviewing, and using WorkinTexas.com.
Meier says after the orientation, attendees should be prepared to speak with 12 area employers, who will be on hand to talk about possible new job opportunities. City and Washington County officials hope this will get the employees back to work.
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