Wrangler workers receive aid

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, March 16, 2004

WINDSOR – Last week, the Foundation for the Carolinas awarded a grant to Bertie County to provide coordination of supportive services for county residents affected by last year’s closing of the VF Jeanswear/Wrangler plant in Windsor.

After 36 years in operation, from its beginnings under the Blue Bell logo to the modern day VF Jeanswear, Windsor’s Wrangler plant closed in late July, affecting 350 workers. The company also scaled back operations at its Wilson plant. All totaled, 892 workers were affected.

Assistance from the Foundation for the Carolinas came in the form of a $14,278.60 grant. The grant is funded by donations.

The Choanoke Area Development Association (CADA) is assisting Bertie County officials in the implementation of the grant funding. Former Wrangler employees who are Bertie County residents are encouraged to call (252) 539-4155 no later than March 22 and ask to speak with a representative for the Foundation’s program.

The purpose of the Foundation for the Carolinas is to advance philanthropy by serving donors, increasing charitable giving and improving communities.

This latest assistance comes in the wake of several rounds of supportive services offered to Wrangler employees last year. Under the direction of Bertie County Economic Development Director Steve Biggs, Wrangler workers were offered services such as loan/debt consolidation, how to maintain healthcare and workforce training to help them prepare for a change in careers.

VF Jeanswear cited a slowing economy and a tough retail environment as their decisions to close the Windsor plant. There, some of its workforce had been with the company for over 30 years.