American Apparel expects around 75 employees to move to Selma

Published 11:31 am Thursday, January 19, 2012

By Fred Guarino
The Lowndes Signal

About half the employees of American Apparel Inc.’s Fort Deposit plant will be employed in Selma.

“Probably close to 90 percent of the employees were offered a job in Selma if they would like to come. At this time our indications are about half of those people offered a position in Selma accepted it. So, we expect something like maybe 75 of the employees that were employed at Fort Deposit to be employed in Selma,” said Jim Hodo, chief operating officer of American Apparel Inc.

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Hodo said a small group, about 25, of Fort Deposit employees would not have a job in Selma because their positions are going away.

On Monday, Jan. 9, American Apparel Inc. announced that it is closing its Fort Deposit plant, impacting 175 jobs.

According to the company, the Fort Deposit location will be consolidated with its Selma plant with the closing slated to be completed by May 31.

“It was a very difficult decision. We have really been down in Fort Deposit almost from the beginning of the company,” said Hodo.

“The trend has gone on for several years, but has been very pronounced under the Obama administration to set aside military apparel to various groups which have preferences of different kinds,” said Hodo.

Examples include institutes for the handicapped, federal prison industries, “hub zone industries which are located in economically depressed areas, but you have to be a small business to qualify,” and Alaskan native corporations, he said.

“The Obama administration has taken about half of the business we formerly could compete for,” said Hodo.

Hodo said that was “the major factor most directly related” to the closing of the Fort Deposit plant.
Hodo said the company had a lot of very long-term Fort Deposit employees.

“They always did a good job… good work force… been very successful there,” he said.

“It was a difficult decision… not good for us, not good for the community, but I’m afraid circumstances forced this upon us,” Hodo said of closing the Fort Deposit plant.