MULTI-STATE TEXTILE SUMMIT

Week of April 1, 2002

Governors urge federal action

South Carolina Governor Jim Hodges addresses the media during a press conference following the textile summit. Looking on in the background are North Carolina Governor Mike Easley (C) and U.S. House Representative Robin Hayes (R-NC). Georgia Gov. Roy Barnes had to leave prior to the press conference.
Photo by Devin Steele

By Devin Steele

DALLAS, NC — The governors of three states that have lost thousands of textile manufacturing jobs, along with fellow sympathizers of the industry’s plight, recently came together to cajole, console and try to gain better control of the industry’s destiny.

The event, dubbed the “Multi-State Textile Summit,” was convened by North Carolina Gov. Mike Easley, South Carolina Gov. Jim Hodges, Georgia Gov. Roy Barnes and Virginia Gov. Mark Warner and included participation by panels of former and current industry executives and employees, educators, politicians, analysts and economic leaders. Warner was unable to attend the event at Gaston College, however, because of an emergency in his state.

For two-and-a-half hours, about 300 audience members heard the governors offer their takes on and solutions to the crisis that has devastated their states, and also heard the perspectives of panelists.

The governors urged federal government action to ease the industry’s pain, then, at the conclusion of the summit, signed a letter to President Bush asking for immediate and specific remedies to help the industry. (See letter, page 7.)

Other panel members included Robert Connolly, a professor at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill; Dr. Blanton Godfrey, dean of the College of Textiles at N.C. State University; Bill Ott, former president and CEO of Thomaston Mills; James Hall, former plant manager of Ithaca Industries; Donny Hicks, director of the Gaston County Economic Development Commission; Peter Arnoti, executive director of The Greenwood County (SC) Economic Alliance; Lynda Simmons, head lab technician at Inman Mills’ Ramey Plant, Enoree, SC; David Spooner, the U.S. Trade Representative’s special trade negotiator; Steven Nesmith, deputy assistant secretary for the Congressional Liaison and Public Affairs Economic Development Administration; and U.S. House representatives John M. Spratt Jr. (D-SC), Sue Myrick (R-NC), Robin Hayes (R-NC) and Cass Ballenger (R-NC).

In Part 1 of our coverage of the event, which begins on page 6, the governors’ opening remarks are published. Subsequent editions will include comments by panelists.

MULTI-STATE TEXTILE SUMMIT

Week of April 1, 2002

Governors set tone for skull session

Georgia Gov. Roy Barnes gives his opening statement during the Multi-State Textile Summit as North Carolina Gov. Mike Easley (L) and South Carolina Gov. Jim Hodges look on.
Photo by Devin Steele

Editor’s note: In this, part 1 of our coverage of the Multi-State Textile Summit in Dallas, NC, excerpts of opening statements by the governors of three textile-heavy states follow. North Carolina Gov. Mike Easley, Georgia Gov. Roy Barnes and South Carolina Gov. James Hodges set the tone for the summit. In subsequent editions, we will focus on the comments of some of the panelists.

NC Gov. Mike Easley

I know there has been a lot of press speculation that we are going to be here today to play the blame game. But nothing could be further from the truth. We are all in this together. This is not a Democrat or Republican issue — this is a people issue. We all just happen to be all Democratic governors here from North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia and Virginia.

Blame is not what we’re about. Blame is to be negative and to look at the past and we are about “now what?” We are where we are, now what do we do in order to go forward and make our economy strong? And games are not what we want to play. That’s what you see on ESPN. When people see their jobs disappear, it’s not a game. It’s a real-life problem and when over 150,000 Americans over the last decade lose their jobs in textiles and apparel, it is not a game; it is, in fact, a crisis. These people are losing their hope, losing their pride and their faith that their country cares as much about them as they care about their country. That’s a tragedy and we have to address that.

But beyond knowing that we’re not here to play the blame game, we have to recognize and we do recognize that this is a very, very complicated issue and their is no silver bullet or single answer. That’s why we have the experts here today to help us understand and set a path to go forward. As part of their presentation, though, I do hope the panelists will respond to a couple of points that at least, to me, seem to be very critical.

First, several actions I believe must be swift and must be substantial. Every day — not every week or every month — but every day that we delay, another plant closes and more jobs are lost, so we can’t continue to talk about the issues; we have to act. The companies that two months ago were negotiating with banks for lower interest rates are now negotiating with banks for better bankruptcy packages. We can’t take any more delays.

Textile companies supported NAFTA and they made adjustments to cut away those cut-and-sew apparel jobs where they did not think they would be able to compete and kept those others and reinvested, not only in capital investment but in worker training, where we knew our productivity rate would be higher and where we knew we could compete. But the NAFTA rules were not followed and when the rules are not followed the economy becomes unstable and a business cannot be successful when there is no predictability and no certainty.

It’s fine to have the new Textile Working Group, and I’m glad we do have that group, but it needs to become the Textile Results Group. And I think it can easily be justified, indeed. Equity demands that the government act to help textile workers after years of government action that hurt textile workers.

The most recent blow for us was the increase of Pakistan apparel quotas announced last month. Now, we recognize that’s part of a war effort and we all want to do our part. We are as committed, if not more so, in these states than anybody in the country. But 28 percent of the textile workers are in North Carolina and a disproportionate share of that burden falls upon us and we do ask the government to respond to that as it has done in other circumstances.

It’s only fair that the American textile worker, who along with all of us here today have so strongly supported our war effort and have been so damaged by the mixing of textile policy and foreign policy, should receive some meaningful federal help to overcome that burden.

Even since September 11 ... we have seen the airline industry and the steel industry get some unique attention and, not that long ago, we saw the auto industry, through Chrysler, get some attention, when they were thrown a life raft to weather a tough economic storm.

All the textile industry is looking for is a fair shake and to get that fair shake the Textile Working Group needs to get results and get them quickly.

I think we need to get results from Commerce, opening up foreign markets, but most importantly and quickly we need to get some results from the U.S. Customs Department, Justice, Federal Trade Commission, so that our domestic markets are protected from illegal dumping and bribe-taking and NAFTA violations. And we need to get results from the Labor Department to make sure that the Trade Adjustment Assistance Act is truly working for all of us.

Let me conclude my remarks by saying that the states are doing their fair share. That’s the second part I think we need to address. We are investing in worker training. We’re investing in the community colleges during a tough budget cycle for every one of our states. We are making massive investment in education. We recognize that capital investment follows labor and that if we want capital investment in our state we’re going to have to have skilled labor. We’re doing our part on the local level and we need government to do its part on the federal level.

And third and last, at the company and labor and financing level, owners and managers must continue to roll up their sleeves and show leadership and build trust by sharing sacrifices. And workers must be realistic and flexible and ready to embrace new technologies.

Let me just say that behind every one of those 150,000 jobs that were lost were real faces — families, wives, husbands, communities. They’re people who work hard, they play by the rules. They’re the real Americans, ones who make this country great. They have been there for this country all their lives and I want to be sure that we’re there for them now.

GA Gov. Roy Barnes

Mike Easley has been a tireless worker, burning our ears for a period of time, impressing upon everyone who would listen to him the importance of making sure that we can make a transition in the textile industry so that our people can remain employed in our states.

There is no denying that the textile industry is in a crisis situation. As the home of the textile industry, the South has borne a disproportionate burden and been disproportionately affected by that crisis. In Georgia, we lost over 26,000 jobs since 1999.

And in a little while you will hear from Bill Ott, who had the difficult job of seeing Thomaston Mills through a closure, where 1,400 people lost their jobs — greatly affecting a community that built their lives around one successful company. In fact, the story of Thomaston Mills is probably the story that you hear in many towns and small cities in North Carolina and South Carolina, Virginia, other places in the Southeast.

Thomaston Mills was a family operation that was owned by the Hightower family for over 100 years. It was a public company, but it still had the stamp of that one family upon it. The whole town was dependent upon that one mill, because of the tax base ... in fact, even the water system was one that was supplied by the mill. And when a company of that long-standing and large falters and stumbles, the entire community in that area falters and stumbles.

And we tried something in Thomaston Mills’ case that was a little bit different. We went in to not only try to soften the blow of the closure of Thomaston Mills, but to re-employ the people, as many of them as we could, on a quick basis and to try to find purchasers for the assets that would stay there and would help it subsist in some way in employment. We gave them some incentives to do so. We gave some state assistance.

Under Bill Ott’s leadership, they’ve been able to attract new jobs to replace some of the ones they’ve lost — substantially all, but not all. They focused on how to move forward into the future and deal with the new rules that exist today. These rules include international competition and global competition.

That’s the most important thing that we can do here today, is to figure out how to move forward. Now I want to re-emphasis something that Gov. Easley said. There’s not any of us here, I don’t believe, that would argue with the fact that global competition and global trade is good for America and good for the Southeast. We all believe that. But we also believe that the trade agreements that are entered into by our nation have to be enforced, or it becomes not fair trade and free trade — it becomes unfair trade.

And I think you will hear from us today not a complaint on NAFTA, for example, or free trade, but comments on the idea that we have to make sure that the agreements are carried out and that markets are opened to our companies, as well as our markets open to those that compete with us on a global basis. We want free trade, but we want fair trade, too. We want the same opportunities to prosper for our companies and for our states that other places in the world have. We can compete. We are certain that we can compete if given the opportunity to compete on a fair and free basis.

We know the textile industry is like all others. It’s changed. And it’s going to continue to change. And we’re willing to be a part of this industry. But we also have to have some cooperation on the federal level to make sure that that change is done in an orderly way, that it’s done in a fair way and that markets remain open for our products.

Technology has changed many of the ways we work, to combat cheaper, manual labor international. ... We can deal with that by increased productivity. But, again, we have to have a investors, have fair trade, have free trade and an orderly change as we go forward.

SC Gov. Jim Hodges

I’m a third generation textile employee. My grandparents worked in a cotton mill in Lancaster, SC, for Springs Industries. My dad ran a mill for Springs and then in 1972 he gave me the great pleasure of going to work as a 16-year-old to earn money to pay for college. And I worked for six years — ran carding machines — then carried cloth in the cloth room for a couple of years.

I went back about a year-and-a-half ago when we did some Labor Day work, back to my hometown, back to run a set of card machines there in the card room and what was remarkable to me was this plant, the Lancaster plant, which once boasted to be the world’s largest cotton mill. We had 3,300 employee in the early ’70s when I was there. When I went back a year-and-half ago they had, I think, 150 or 200 employees. It looked like a ghost town.

What had once been a thriving cotton mill which ran at that time three full shifts and worked on Saturdays, put food on the tables of many of my classmates and their families, had a thriving mill village around it, that had supported a community ... that area now does not look a bit like it once did.

And part of what I think we need to focus on today, I think, is the impact that these changes have had on people and on communities. In North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Alabama and Virginia, there are many small communities that grew up on having textile mills that are seeing their entire way of living change. And, as part of our overall effort to address textile problems today, I think we must not only focus on the future viability of the industry and look for ways in which our federal and state governments can partner to better protect American jobs, but we also need to focus on what we can do to protect these communities, to better help them transition for the changes that are taking place — and these workers, as well.

It’s one thing for us to talk about retraining. It’s interesting to hear about textile workers who come here to be retrained. Let’s face it, if you’re 50 or 55 years of age and you don’t have a high school degree, sometimes retraining doesn’t sound so attractive. Sometimes it sounds pretty threatening. And we’ve got to not only focus on retraining people for new opportunities, but also saving jobs and saving economic opportunities.

Every one of our states is incredibly aggressive in looking to change the dynamics of our economies. We have been very good in creating high-tech business opportunities, trying to go overseas and trying to bring European and Asian partners to the Carolinas and Georgia. But at the same time we, as states, need to focus on keeping the jobs that are here.

And for Mr. Ott and 100-year-old companies that have been doing business in our states, we have got to be just as excited about saving jobs there as we are about recruiting the latest German business to come to our state and bring new jobs and new opportunities.

Today, there are a couple of issues I think we should focus on. No. 1 is we need to look at the strong dollar policy that our country has. In my judgment, one of the things that has adversely impacted the textile industry is that other nations are playing games with the currency system. Since the Asian crisis, they’ve looked at devaluation as a tool to gain market share. Now, that’s not fair. That’s not a level and fair playing field and that has adversely affected American jobs in the textile industry.

Second, as both of my colleagues mentioned, let’s look at enforcing the existing trade agreements that we have. We have lost since 1995 somewhere in the range of 30,000 textile jobs in South Carolina alone. My guess is if we had vigorously enforced the trade agreements that we had in place, made sure that countries and companies that were violating these trade agreements didn’t, we could’ve saved some of those jobs.

And then the third piece that I think we need to look at, as we look toward the future, is what assistance should be expected? In some measures, I think the textile industry has been offered up on the mantle of free trade.

We, as a nation, have provided protection for steel just in the past few weeks. But, for whatever reason, the textile industry has seen job losses occur and we have been offered up as an opportunity for countries that have been less prosperous to get into the textile business and make money.

If that is the case, then we need to make sure that those jobs that we have lost in those communities that have suffered have some sort of compensation. We should look at protecting those communities and look at providing retraining packages for those workers.

This, as Gov. Easley said, is not something that’s a Democratic or Republican problem. I think there’s plenty of blame to go around. And I’m grateful today that we have several Congressional leaders who happen to be in the other party and one of my own party that are here, and all four of them have worked very hard to try to protect American jobs in the textile industry.

What we are about is trying to find solutions, trying to protect American workers, trying to protect American jobs, trying to protect communities in our states that have suffered as a result of some of these changes, and trying to protect great companies that have been a part of the fabric of our communities for several generations.

This is really bugging me: I do worry that one day we’re going to wake up and be a nation that can’t make anything. And if we go to war we have to be able to make our uniforms, we have to be able to make our weapons. And for other industries that believe that what’s happening in the textile industry can’t happen to them, I think, is a bit foolish.

As a country, if we want to be strong and be vital, we have to recognize that our American economy needs to be one that knows how to make things and knows how to make a variety of things.

And as we look forward on this issue I believe that we need to gauge other manufacturing concerns and make them our partners in trying not only to protect textile jobs in the future but protect their jobs and their industries, as well.


March 22, 2002


The President
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue
Washington, DC 20500

Dear Mr. President:

Today, the governors of North Carolina, South Carolina and Georgia convened a regional summit to discuss strategies for bolstering the ailing textile industry. We were pleased to include representatives from the federal Economic Development Administration and the U.S. Trade Representative, because it is clear that the federal government has a major role to play in this effort.

The textile industry has lost 60,000 jobs in the last 12 months. Extreme conditions are driving viable companies to layoffs, plant closings and bankruptcy — causing untold disruption for workers and the communities that have long hosted textile plants. The federal government has taken decisive action to help the U.S. airline and steel industries stay afloat since September 11. Now is the time to step forward on behalf of the textile industry.

We are writing as governors of the largest textile-producing states to urge immediate, multi-pronged action to assist the textile industry, its workers and the communities whose economics depend upon this industry. As the list that follows indicates, a variety of actions are required: ensuring fair trade, providing assistance for dislocated workers, providing aid to textile-dependent communities, and providing support for a revitalized domestic textile industry.

We urge you to take the following immediate action:

• Direct the International Trade Commission to move aggressively to combat widespread “dumping” of textile goods on U.S. markets and to address the failure of trading partners to open their markets to U.S. exports of textile and apparel products, as committed in prior agreements.

• Provide the U.S. Customs Service with the additional staff and resources necessary to crack down on illegal smuggling and other customs fraud, which leads to billions of dollars in lost sales for our textile industry every year.

• Direct the U.S. Trade Representative to consider whether trading partners have already achieved competitive advantage through currency devaluation in determining whether or not to allow further adjustments or tariff reductions for textiles in future trade negotiations.

• To help our unemployed textile workers get the full two years of training and the Associates Degree that they need to secure a job at a sustainable wage, extend the Trade Adjustment Assistance program from 18 months to 24 months and expand the program to include health care coverage for those without coverage.

• Provide funding to Southeastern states to support market research to determine what type of training should be offered to displaced textile workers.

• For our communities affected by the loss of a textile manufacturing base, provide tax incentives and support for infrastructure projects in order to facilitate local economic development and expansion.

• To help spur the innovation and collaboration that are key to the success of the U.S. textile industry in the global economy of the 21st century, expand federal support for the National Textile Center — an R&D consortium of U.S. academic institutions.

We recognize that this list is simply a starting point, and that some of these items will require Congressional action. It is offered to initiate a substantive dialogue on actions that can be taken to help an industry that cannot afford to wait any longer for meaningful federal support. We look forward to starting this dialogue with your office immediately.


Sincerely,

Governor Michael F. Easley, State of North Carolina

Governor Roy E. Barnes, State of Georgia

Governor Jim Hodges, State of South Carolina

Governor Mark R. Warner, State of Virginia

MULTI-STATE TEXTILE SUMMIT

Week of April 1, 2002

Goal of new coalition: To save jobs

By Devin Steele

The new lobbying coalition being formed by Roger Milliken, Bruce Raynor and George Shuster has not established a mission statement, but does have one primary goal: To save the remaining 1 million jobs left in U.S. textile and apparel industries.

So says Jock Nash, Washington counsel for Milliken & Co., to which Milliken serves as chairman and CEO.

“We have 1 million people left,” Nash told STN. “Some people may say it’s too late to save these jobs, but it’s not. But this is surely our last chance. We have 1 million people left. We gave at the office — 700,000 jobs since NAFTA — fellow Americans. And we took that lying down. But there’s no reason on God’s earth that we should say ‘OK, we can give up the other million. Just don’t do it too quick.’ That’s ridiculous. It’s just insane.”

Milliken, Bruce Raynor, president of the Union of Needletrades, Industrial and Textile Employees (UNITE), and Shuster of Cranston Print Works recently convened a private meeting of about 40 textile representatives in Washington to set the groundwork for the alliance.

How the group plans to accomplish its goal is yet to be determined, Nash said, adding that it does plan to take a harder-line stance against trade liberalization than other industry organizations have.

“This industry is going into the tank, probably because a whole bunch of trade associations that haven’t done their jobs,” Nash said. “The purpose of a trade association is to provide a buffer between the members and their customers and suppliers and to take positions in the best interest of that industry. Now, you don’t have a trade association that provides a buffer for anything.

“We have half the trade associations saying, ‘we’ve already lost 700,000 jobs — please don’t beat me no more.’ And so they’d just be happy for you to quit beating on them. We’re not going to go out with our hand out and begging anybody. We’re going to bust the door down and we’re going to say, ‘enough is damn enough!’ ”

The creation of such an alliance seems contradictory to the mantra Chuck Hayes espoused during his recent year-long term as president of the industry’s national lobbying group, the American Textile Manufacturers Institute (ATMI) he said.

“One thing that I’ve always preached is unity, unity, unity,” Hayes told STN during ATMI’s recent annual meeting. “And all of a sudden, Mr. Milliken comes up with this idea. Unity is the only way that we’re going to have a voice.”

Milliken, of course, left ATMI two years ago after a dispute.

Hayes said the new coalition may have a place in this industry, and he said he agreed with its fundamental goal. But, he pointed out, the two organizations seem to have different philosophies about how to accomplish that.

“I believe in saving jobs, but how do you save jobs when the administration is a free-trade administration and you’re going in the opposite direction?” Hayes asked. “It almost reminds me of the ’80s when we went for the protectionist stance. We got it all the way through Congress, but all three presidents vetoed it. Who won? All we did was spend a lot of money and a lot of effort, took a lot of busses and a lot of people to Washington — and got nothing. We got nothing. In fact, it fragmented the whole organization.”

Asked if the fledgling alliance will run counter to ATMI’s work, Hayes answered, “I don’t see it competing with ATMI because there’s a definite, distinct difference between the two. My belief is one of compromise. How did we build the (American Textile) Alliance? We built the alliance out of compromise. Up until that particular point, we were pretty hard-headed and it had to be our way or no way. And that was wrong. So, under compromise, we got an alliance going. It’s building. It’s getting stronger every day.”

On that point, Nash said the new organization will not compete with an ATMI.

“It’s not a trade association,” he said. “It is going to be a coalition of private citizen groups, textile companies, fiber companies and everybody who wants to join that will adopt our mission statement and our objectives and we’re putting that together so that everybody goes into it with their eyes wide open.”

Meanwhile, new ATMI President Van May, CEO of Plains Cotton Cooperative Association, took a wait-and-see attitude about the new group.

“We need all the help we can get to lobby our causes up here,” May said. “And whether or not the approach that group is taking is the right approach or not, I can’t say at this point. It’s so early in their formative stages. That group hasn’t really even taken any formal position yet, so it might be premature for us to say exactly how they would fit in with ATMI’s long-term strategy.”

Whether or not the new alliance will allow other trade associations to join their cause is yet to be decided, Nash said. But he seemed skeptical to the notion.

“You have a lot of infighting and divisive stuff going on within various trade associations,” he said. “You bring them in, you bring in all their dysfunctional baggage. We’re getting people to join this group who want to save domestic manufacturing and the domestic jobs associated with it. There’s not any division in this group and there will not be.

“We’re going to speak with one clear, unified voice, and all the other people can do their own dysfunctional family stuff themselves.”

One thing is for sure, Nash added: Membership won’t be open to all.

“You’re going to get genetically screened first,” he said. “You’re only going to come into this outfit if you’re willing to fight and if you’re willing to put in your personal time.”

Nash added that ATMI has been forced to downsize so much over the last year or so, it has lost much of its political clout. He called them “irrelevant” to the new coalition.

Joining forces with a traditional rival, a union, has its advantages, Nash said, particularly for an industry that is floundering from a lobbying standpoint, he added. “Frankly, the textile industry isn’t all that powerful politically,” he said. “All of the political power that was ever put together by our industry was always in connection with the unions — the same way that the steel industry could not have accomplished what it has accomplished without the steel union.”

Nash added that he is already hearing criticism from free-traders about the alliance, saying he hopes the group will be their “worst nightmare,” before interjecting his opinion about them.

“You would think that the way that the importers and the retailers were wanting to get some sort of concessions for Pakistan and they wanted all this help for the Caribbean, they want all this for Africa, that somehow these retailing organizations have turned into philanthropists or nation builders,” he said. “These people could give a damn about what happens there.”

Mills

Week of April 1, 2002

WPS restructures area

WEST POINT, GA — WestPoint Stevens announced a restructuring of its manufacturing organization that will enable the company to “further quicken its response to market conditions and better align manufacturing with marketing.”

The changes are effective immediately.

In a move to a three-part vertical manufacturing structure, Bath Products will be headed by John W. Hurston as vice president of bath products manufacturing. Bed Products will be headed by R.R. “Bobby” Lanier as vice president of bed products manufacturing.

David England was named vice president of basic bedding manufacturing last October.

Lanny L. Bledsoe, senior vice president of manufacturing since April 2000, has indicated that he plans to retire at the end of the year and will lead the transition to the new structure during the interim period.

“WestPoint Stevens is already recognized as the industry leader in customer service and response,” said M.L. “Chip” Fontenot, president and chief operating officer. “This proactive move for WestPoint Stevens will enhance those capabilities as we focus on becoming a specialist in the industry.

“Our restructured organization will be even more product-driven and more closely linked to the needs of the marketplace. It enables us to achieve a better fit between manufacturing and marketing.

Hurston has been general manager of Bed Products Manufacturing South since 1998. He has been with the company since 1975.

After management posts at manufacturing facilities in Opelika, AL, he became manager of the Lanier Plant in Valley, AL, in 1980; manager of Dunson Plant, LaGrange, GA, in 1988; general manager of bed products, Stevens Greige Plant, in 1990; and general manager for all sheet greige manufacturing from 1992 until his assignment at general manager of Bed Products Manufacturing South.

Lanier has been general manager of Bed Products Manufacturing North since 1998. Before that, he served as manager of Clemson (SC) Finishing Plant from 1992 and Opelika Finishing Plant from 1990. He joined the company at Opelika Finishing in 1977 and was assigned to a variety of management posts there before being named assistant plant manager in 1989.

In addition to their manufacturing assignments, Hurston will also be responsible for purchasing, logistics, cotton purchasing, operations analysis, engineering, WestPoint Stevens Graphics and Grifftex Chemicals, and Lanier will be responsible for customer service and planning.

Delta Apparel to add capacity

DULUTH, GA — Delta Apparel, Inc. said it plans to buy a fabric-producing plant in Fayette, AL, and initially employ about 100 people there.

The U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Northern District of Alabama has provisionally approved the proposed sale of the textile assets owned by Fayette Manufacturing, Inc. to Delta, subject to a notice to creditors.

Fayette Manufacturing has been in bankruptcy proceedings since last May. The purchase price of the textile plant is about $2.6 million.

The knit apparel manufacturer said it expects close on the deal and begin production this month.

“We are excited to have this new textile capacity and look forward to becoming a part of the Fayette community,” said Robert W. Humphreys, Delta’s president and CEO. “This modern facility contains the particular equipment needed for our product lines and we will benefit from the major capital investments made by the previous owners.”

Plant employees will knit, dye, finish and cut fabric into parts that will be assembled into garments in the company’s sewing facilities in Honduras and Mexico, he said.

In its initial phase of operations, the facility will increase the output of Delta Apparel by about 25 percent, Humphreys added.

“We have been running our fabric manufacturing facilities at full capacity, and believe we have maximized the output available to us in our existing finishing plant in Maiden, NC,” he said. “We are experiencing strong demand for our products and expect to have record sales for our current fiscal quarter.”

People

Week of April 1, 2002

After sale, Cognis realigns

After being sold late last year to by Henkel to a consortium of investors, global specialty chemicals company Cognis has formed a new management board and a streamlined its organizational structure.

The investors — Permira Funds, GS Capital Partners and Schroder Ventures Life Sciences Funds — said their goal is to prepare the company to go public within the next four to five years. Their intention, they said, is to double sales and to achieve an above-average increase in EBIT.

The management board now comprises only three officers. Dr. Antoinio Truis, 46, formerly executive vice president of care chemicals of Cognis and chief coordinator for the region of North America, is the new CEO.

Joachim Sohngen, 54, remains chief financial officer, while Dr. Helmut Heymann, 49, is chief administration officer (CAO).

Heymann previously headed Human Resources Management. Dr. Harald Wulff, previous CEO, joined the supervisory board.

Dr. Jochen Heidrich and Dr. Paul Hovelmann, formerly executive vice president of Organic Specialties and Oleochemicals, respectively, have retired after many years of work with Henkel and Cognis.

Dr. Michael Schulenburg will continue to direct German Business Operations as general manager, but will additionally be responsible in the executive committee for East and North Europe.

Other key positions in the company have been assumed by Alfred Meffert as head of Worldwide Manufacturing and Klaus Kunstler as head of Research and Technology.

Business units

The consistent focus on market structures and their development potentials is the rationale behind the regrouping of businesses into five strategic business units, Cognis said. This will allow concentration of competencies and greater flexibility in decision-making. The heads of these businesses units report directly to Truis.

The business units are structured as follows:
• Oleochemicals, directed by Pierre Renaud, forms the backbone of Cognis business, with basic chemicals derived from natural oils and fats.
• Care Chemicals is headed by Richard Ridinger. It supplies base materials and additives for the cosmetics, detergents and cleaners industries.
• Nutrition & Health provides functional ingredients for the pharmaceuticals and cosmetics industries, as well as the food and animal feed segments. It is directed by Paul Allen.
• Functional Products focuses mainly on supporting manufacturers of paints and coatings, plant protection products and the mining industry. This unit is headed by Guido Willems.
• Process Chemicals offers process know-how to plastics manufacturers and processors, the textile and fiber industry and leather processors. The decision on leadership of this unit if still pending.

Texas producer elected chairman of Cotton Inc.

NEW YORK — Texas cotton producer Eddie Smith was elected to the position of chairman of the board of Cotton Incorporated at the company’s annual board meeting in San Diego recently.

Smith follows Jim Hansen, who had served two one-year terms.

Smith is from Floydada, TX, located 50 miles northeast of Lubbock. A longtime board member and officer of the company, Smith said he was honored by the appointment.

“Being on the board has been one of the most rewarding experiences of my agricultural career,” said Smith. “It is very gratifying to know that I can be an instrumental part of Cotton Incorporated’s future as they work to improve the profitability of cotton.”

For Smith, agriculture is a family affair. He has been farming with his father on the High Plains of Texas for nearly three decades and is currently a partner in Floyd County Farms while serving as president of E&B Farm Enterprises.

Smith’s long-term commitment to agriculture will be reflected in his new leadership role.

“We will continue our incredibly effective promotion activities,” he said. “But we are bringing a lot of focus to the research side.”

Texas certified producer organizations nominated Smith to the board of Cotton Incorporated in 1992. Four years later, he was appointed treasurer and in 1998 was appointed secretary.

For the last two years, Smith has served as vice chairman of the board. He is a delegate to the National Cotton Council and has served on its Environmental Task Force. He is a director of the Plains Cotton Cooperative Association, a cotton-marketing cooperative that supplies marketing opportunities to growers throughout Texas.

Smith also serves as a director to Floydada Cooperative Gins.

Smith graduated from Texas Tech University with a B.S. degree in agricultural economics in 1973.

TRIPARTITE ANNUAL MEETING

Week of April 1, 2002

ON LEADERSHIP,
Ex-Porsche head shares winning strategies, success stories

By Devin Steele

PUERTA VALLARTA, MEXICO — A defining moment in Peter W. Schutz’s career as president and CEO of Porsche AG of Stuttgart, West Germany, came in March of 1981. That’s when he first experienced the joy of getting extraordinary results from ordinary people, he said.

Just two months on the job, Schutz convened a meeting of every employee who had a hand in the racing side of the automobile maker. Excited after returning from his first sports car race, he asked those employees what’s a Porche’s chances of winning the prestigious 24 Hours of Le Mans auto race in France in a few weeks.

They looked at him as if to say, “Who is this American diesel engineer?” he recalled. He then heard every excuse in the book as to why one of their cars had no chance of winning.

Schutz added something that changed the attitude of the entire company, which was wallowing in low morale and financial problems. “Folks,” he said, “let me explain something. As long as I am in charge of this organization we will never go to any race without the objective of winning.”

He added: “Since I do not know how to do that, this meeting is now adjourned and you will return at 10 o’clock tomorrow morning and explain your intention.”

A deafening silence engulfed the room, Schutz recalled. “I couldn’t believe I said it,” he told members of the American Textile Machinery Association (ATMA) and two other capital equipment groups during their tripartite annual meeting here recently. “But I was learning. I didn’t know what I was doing. It would appear it had been a long time since anybody had challenged this very capable group of people in that manner.”

By the next morning, Schutz witnessed a transformation.

“The morale in that whole company turned around overnight,” he said. “I mean the word was all over the company: ‘We’re going to go racing at Le Mans! We’re going to go race to win! We are going to figure this thing out!’ ”

Two months later, a Porsche won the race and, not only that, did so without ever having a wrench laid on it — a first in the 50-year history of the race, he said. Only fuel, tires and oil were added and brake linings were changed. And, for the next six years, which coincided with Schutz’s career with the company, a Porsche won that race — without malfunction.

“It was a flawless execution of the fundamentals that I believe won those races,” he said. “We didn’t have the fastest cars. I’m not sure we even had the best cars. But we had a group of people who went to that race the way the New England Patriots went into the Super Bowl. They went in there as a team and, working together, they didn’t make any mistakes. It was their car. It was their program.

“If we hadn’t won that race, chances are I wouldn’t be with you here today,” Schutz recalled. “I played it very big. I decided either we are going to get this outfit back on its feet or (my wife Sheila and I) might as well go back to Peoria.”

Schutz, a mechanical engineer who was born in Berlin and whose family moved to Chicago when he was 9, was hired by Porsche in the midst of its first money-losing year. But during his tenure, the company’s worldwide sales grew from 28,000 units in 1980-81 to a peak of 53,000 units in 1986. Revenues went from DM 850 million to DM 3.7 billion, with profits after tax growing from DM 12 million to more than DM 125 million.

So Schutz, now a business management lecturer, knows a thing or two about leadership. He was invited to delve into that subject during two sessions here, and he didn’t disappoint, according to several attendees. “His presentations were worth the price of admission,” said one conferee.

Performance enhancers

As a fledgling student of leadership during that early experience at Porsche, Schutz said he sought answers to why a group of “ordinary” people would rise to such heights of performance. Two things he discovered that does not affect outstanding performance, he said, are pay and facilities/equipment.

Through much research, he said, the answer lies in five questions that employees ask:
1) Why are we here? It’s not merely to “bust rocks” or “make a living,” he said; it’s to “help co-workers build a temple,” he said, relating a story. It’s the leader’s job to enable workers to gain that sense of ownership, to lead a group of people working together on a common objective.
2) What is expected of me around here? “Young people today are not looking for a job,” he said. “They will not bust rocks. But if you give them an opportunity to help win the race, to help build the temple, they will perform like champions. It’s a question of job content and the way we structure the work. That’s what has to be expected of them.”
3) How am I doing? Comparing the importance of measuring job performance to trying to lose weight without a scale, Schutz said that employees want to see results of their work and to know that someone cares and is paying attention.
4) What’s in it for me? Money is important, but it’s not going to inspire people to great performance, he reiterated. When people succeed, give them an opportunity to take a bow, Schutz said.
“To you this might just be a relatively mundane thing, but to them it’s the only job they’ve got,” he said. “And to be able to stand up tall and say, ‘we were a part of getting that done,’ it matters, because that is how I have found you build passion in the business.”
5) If I fail to perform, where do I go for help? Failing is an integral part of developing a new skill, he said, and should not be punished. Doing so may only help to train an organization to resist change, cover up mistakes and avoid new methods, he added.

Leadership dimensions

On defining dimensions of leadership, Schutz noted that leaders must achieve four objectives, or else mismanagement will occur. First of all, he said, leaders must produce results. Every company is in the business of making money and that entails adding value, he said. The customer, of course, decides value.

“I have found many of us don’t give this enough thought,” he said. “If we do this well, it will make our business effective.”

Creating value, though, is only short-term, he said. “In tennis, the objective is to hit the ball in that little space,” he said. “The coach says, ‘keep your eye on the ball. Never look at the scoreboard.’ The ball is the customer. If you take your eye off the ball, you’re going to lose your customer.

“At the end of the day, that’s when you can look at the scoreboard. Producing results in business and in tennis requires total concentration.”

Secondly, leaders must administer, which means organizing and focusing on how things are done, he said. This, too, is short-term, because administrative procedures must constantly change with the times or they become obsolete, he said.

Next, leaders must show entrepreneurial capacity, meaning they must be proactive rather than reactive, Schutz said. Staying with the tennis analogy, he said that being entrepreneurial means putting yourself in the risk position to predict where the ball is going to be next — a tough assignment, considering the wind, the surface, the opponent, etc.

And, lastly, leaders must be able to integrate the organization, or manage employees as though they are family members, he said.

“I believe that is what allows an organization to take risks,” he said. “When you take a risk and it goes wrong, do you have the type of people who will stick with you?

“A family has shared values. Administrative procedures are one thing. Values are another. You have to have people you can count on.”

It’s your people

Back on the matter of getting extraordinary results from ordinary people, Schutz submitted that gaining a competitive edge is not achieved by hiring people who are more talented and competent than your competition’s.

“There are not those kind of people out there beating down your doors,” he said. “You can’t clean up a whorehouse by firing the piano player. The employees you have are probably the best you are going to find. You have hired these people, you have trained them, you have created the operating environment for them to become who they are. You as a manager have to become more proficient at the way you go about doing your job.”

There are several steps involved in enabling employees to overachieve, Schutz said. First, a leader must become credible.

“If your people don’t trust you, if they don’t believe you, it doesn’t matter what else you come up with in terms of strategy, etc.,” he said. “The indispensable part of gaining credibility is you must put yourself in a position with your people where you are vulnerable. You must face them in person. There is no substitute for putting yourself on the line with your people.”

Once credibility is established, it must be nurtured, he added. That means never stop communicating, especially during bad times, he said.

“When things aren’t going well, they know it,” he said. “Without communicating with them, what do they begin thinking about? ‘What’s happening to me?’ So instead of trying to solve the problems in the business, they have a different problem to worry about: how to make the mortgage payment.”

When credibility is established and nurtured, then leaders must be able to get their employees to implement their decisions, which can be another daunting task, Schutz said. Getting decisions implemented comes from three sources of energy, he added: authority, power and influence. Authority is the right to decide yes and no, which falls in the owner’s hands. Power, though, is the capacity to grant and withhold information.

“Whoever it is who you need to cooperate, that’s who has the power,” he said. “So, if you have authority, you don’t have power. If your goal is to get extraordinary results, it isn’t going to happen through intimidation and bribery.”

Influence means to persuade others to do what you want done because it will be in their best interest, Schutz said. That’s where motivation comes into play, he added, warning that manipulation, a sinister relative of motivation, has negative results. Manipulation, he said, means to persuade others to do what you want done because it will be in your best interest.

Implementing projects does not mean taking a democratic approach, he added. Implementation is a time to do, not a time to talk.

“What I have learned is, if we are expected to implement efficiently, we must learn to implement like a dictatorship,” he said. “And yet, somehow, we need a democratic process to get the support and commitment of those people to get the project implemented.

“On race day,” Schutz added, “there isn’t time to discuss anything. It is a time to do. If you haven’t worked out problems before race day, that’s when you will get people arguing over the problem.

“In your business it will be the flawless execution of the fundamentals that will contribute to your success.”

NCMA

Week of April 1, 2002

NCMA president addresses group

CHARLOTTE, NC — Walter Sherman (L) of Rieter Corporation greets Jim Bell, president of the North Carolina Manufacturers Association, following Bell’s remarks to the Carolinas Textile Club here last month. Bell addressed the erosion of textile and apparel jobs in the state, along with forthcoming North Carolina elections.

Kurt Scholler, CEO of American Truetzschler, based here, will speak to the group during its next meeting, scheduled for Monday, April 8. He will address the future of the American textile machinery industry.

The meeting will take place at the Four Point Sheraton, 201 South McDowell Street here.

Guest fees are $15. For more information, call Lillian Link at (704) 824-3522. The May meeting will be a golf outing.

Textile Club

Week of April 1, 2002

Textile Club to tour insulators facility

BOSTON — The Textile Club’s next program, scheduled for Friday, April 12, includes a plant tour of Clark-Cutler-McDermott in Franklin, MA.

Clark-Cutler-McDermott Co. was founded in 1911 as a maker of horse pads and, to this day says it is “still involved in transportation” as a leading supplier of acoustical insulators to the automotive industry.

This company is a fourth-generation, family-owned business.

The Textile Club, originally founded in 1891 as The Textile Club of Boston, has functioned for more than 100 years as a venue for textile industry professionals to meet and discuss general industry issues.

The club meets several times a year from November to June. The December and May/June meetings are usually outings. Other meetings are typically luncheons with industry speakers or plant tours.

For more information about the Textile Club or to register for this meeting, contact Lewis Crothers, club president, at (207) 539-4481.

Fiscal roundup

Week of April 1, 2002

Petition filed against PGI

NORTH CHARLESTON, SC — Disagreeing with a proposed company restructuring, some creditors have filed an involuntary Chapter 11 petition against non-wovens producer Polymer Group, Inc. (PGI) in federal court in South Carolina.

PGI has begun discussions with petitioning creditors on a potential consensual and prompt withdrawal of the petition. If the petition is not withdrawn, the company said it anticipates that the court may dismiss the petition in light of the exchange offer and comprehensive financial restructuring currently in progress.

Last month, PGI revealed details of a comprehensive financial restructuring aimed at reducing more than $550 million debt.

The world’s largest nonwovens fabric producer said that CSFB Global Opportunities Partners, L.P. (GOP) was to invest about $50 million in cash to reduce senior indebtedness and a $25 million letter of credit to support certain amortizations of bank debt. GOP was to also convert $394.4 million in Polymer senior subordinated notes into equity.

PGI also offered to exchange all of PGI’s remaining Senior Subordinated Notes for new notes due 2008, which some creditors have balked at.

Also, shareholders were to vote on a proposed 1-for-10 reverse stock split at a special meeting.

At the time, PGI said the restructuring is expected to result in $550 million in debt reduction and an increase of shareholders equity. When complete, GOP will own 87.5 percent of the company’s equity, with shareholders retaining the balance.

The company, citing rising raw materials costs and a slumping economy, has finished in the red for five straight quarters. Sales have grown over the past five years, however, to $862 last year.

The world’s third largest producer of nonwovens employs about 4,000 people and operates 25 manufacturing facilities. In a cost-cutting move, the company is laying off about 14 percent of its employees.

Two Maine shutdowns to cost 500-plus jobs

More than 500 apparel manufacturing and related employees are losing their jobs, two companies announced in recent weeks.

Nautica Enterprises said last week it is closing its Rockland distribution center, eliminating about 234 jobs.

A week earlier, C.F. Hathaway Co. announced that it is putting about 300 people out of work in the closing of its shirt manufacturing and distribution facilities in Waterville.

Nautica said it is shifting distribution handled in Rockland to its new Martinsville, VA, facility by Jan. 31, 2003. The New York-based company has operated in Rockland since 1939.

The company sells men’s and women’s apparel under brand names Nautica, John Varvatos, Earl Jean, E. Magrath and Byron Nelson.

C.F. Hathaway, which has had a presence in Waterville for about 150 years, said that it is closing the facility due to a sluggish economy and retail environment.

In a release, the company said it was unable to run the plant profitably since Windsong bought it in October.

Springs completes rug deal

FORT MILL, SC — Springs Industries, Inc. said it has completed the purchase of Beaulieu’s rug divisions in the United States and Canada.

The purchase includes manufacturing facilities that employ about 650 employees in Dalton, GA, and Stratford, Ontario, Canada, and a license to use the Beaulieu and Peerless® brand names on home furnishing products other than carpet.

“We are pleased to add Beaulieu rugs to our existing bath and accent rug line. Area rugs are a growth category, and this new business will strengthen our relationship with many of our major retail customers in the U.S. and Canada,” said Crandall Bowles, Springs chairman and chief executive officer. “We welcome these Beaulieu employees to Springs.”

Burlington sells idle plant

GREENSBORO, NC — Carolina Hosiery Mills plans to buy a closed yarn plant in Graham, NC, from bankrupt Burlington Industries.

Under the agreement filed in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Delaware, Carolina Hosiery’s real estate arm is buying the facility to lease as a manufacturing plant or a warehouse.

Purchase price was listed at $501,000. Carolina also would buy spinning machines and other manufacturing equipment, according to the agreement.

The plant has been closed for years and produced yarn.

Fiscal notes

Week of April 1, 2002

Financing approved for Galey & Lord

GREENSBORO, NC — Galey & Lord, Inc. announced that it has received final court approval of its $100 million debtor-in-possession (DIP) financing facility, the interim approval of which was previously announced.

In other motions, the company received court approval of its request to continue to pay severance to employees laid off prior to the company’s Chapter 11 filing in February, and to offer similar plans in the future.

The company also received approval to make any required contributions to its pension plans.

Advanced Glassfiber experiences declines

AIKEN, SC — Advanced Glassfiber Yarns LLC said last week that net sales for the fourth quarter decreased $36.9 million, or 52.5 percent, to $33.4 million.

The company sold $70.3 million in goods for the same period last year. Advanced lost $12.3 million in the quarter.

Elbit Vision Systems suffers loss for year

YOQNEAM, ISRAEL — Elbit Vision Systems Ltd. lost $1.3 million, or 13 cents per share, on sales of $9.4 million in the year.

The company produces monitoring systems for the textile and the nonwovens industries.

Obituary

Week of April 1, 2002

Kearney last served RadiciSpandex

JAMESTOWN, RI — David Kearney, global product manager of RadiciSpandex and Globe Manufacturing Corp., died on March 21.

Kearney succumbed after a three-year battle with leukemia.

He previously served as technical marketing specialist at Fulflex, Inc. and product manager at Cambridge Lee Industries.

Recognized by many as an authority on the use of elastomeric fibers and elastation systems for personal care disposable products, Kearney maintained a virtual organization of network contacts that spanned the disposables market, including producers and suppliers.

Kearney is survived by his wife Kathleen.

A “Celebration of David’s Life” Service took place at the Conanicut Yacht Club here. The waterfront setting overlooking historic Newport Harbor was fitting, due to Kearney’s love of yachting and Narragansett Bay.

During his illness Kearney actively founded and supported the Jamestown Medical Fund, where donations may be made in his name c/o P.O. Box 236, Jamestown, RI 02835. Donations may also be made on Kearney’s behalf of The Leukemia Society, RI Chapter, 75 Sockanosset Crossroad, Cranston, RI 029020.

Leonard

Week of April 1, 2002

Ex-Burlington executive takes Commerce post

WASHINGTON, DC — Jim Leonard, a 34-year veteran of Burlington Industries, has been appointed by the Bush Administration as the Commerce Department’s deputy assistant secretary of textiles, apparel and consumer goods.

The position has been vacant for more than a year.

Leonard, an industry consultant for the past year, served at Burlington last as manager of economic analysis and director of government relations.

He will also serve as chairman of the Committee for the Implementation of Textile Agreements, which oversees the implementation of textile and apparel trade pacts.

Innovations

Week of April 1, 2002

P&W introduces seuding machine

SPRINGFIELD, VT — Parks & Woolson Machine Co., Inc. has introduced its Phoenix Polybrush Sueding Machine, which the company said provides an answer to the demand for soft hand and drapable fabrics of all end uses.

Fabrics of all weights that are knitted or woven are enhanced at speeds that make the processing economical without creating holes or other processing issues, the manufacturer said.

This machine works on the Phoenix Napper framework, but instead of the standard 24-worker rolls it has six “polybrushes.” The polybrushes are designed using a polyamide fiber bristle that has silicon carbide particles imbedded in the fiber. The bristle can vary in diameter, length and the size of the grit.

These polybrushes operate on a planetary cylinder that can move in either direction, with the brushes operating independently of the cylinder. The brushes provide effective application and are long lasting on both natural fibers and synthetics, Parks & Woolson said, adding that they also are proven effective on the crisp hand of printed material.

Effectiveness of the polybrushes on the Phoenix is enhanced by the use of the P&W patented “Dynamic Zoning Module” that allows the fabric to be taken off the cylinder and to control the amount of contact the fabric has with the brushes. This allows low-tension processing and helps the brushes to maintain an even application.

Chase Machine unveils several machines

WEST WARLICK, RI — Chase Machine & Engineering, Inc. has introduced several products.

The company has completed development of the new Opti-Splice™ 1000 & 2000 Series machines that ultrasonically butt splices and irons thermoplastic films, woven and nonwoven synthetic fabric to form a continuous run of fabric accommodating any width.

By utilizing ultrasonic energy, the new equipment is used to first splice (1000 series) and then iron (2000 series) the material. The ironing feature creates a smooth, unobtrusive joint that increases seam strength. The equipment offers the advantage of eliminating the use of consumables, including tapes, glues and staples, thus making the joint fully usable in most applications, the company said.

By making the Opti-Splice™ Series portable and self-contained, the equipment can be used on multiple lines for end-to-end web splicing. Both the Opti-Splice 1000 and Opti-Splice 2000 feature in-line and off-line design, as well as vertical or horizontal configuration.

Chase Machine & Engineering has also unveiled the Opti-Pak 2000™ to deliver delicate and high loft woven and nonwoven materials from upstream slitting, laminating or packaging processes to a “festooned” layered box or pallet. This new equipment is designed to improve overall productivity and offers improved material-handling benefits in high-speed, continuous converting processes, the company said.

A key advantage of the equipment is the uniform tension preserved in the product, as it is delivered and stored in layers front to back while being traversed side-to-side, resulting in a consistent, square package with high overall stability and efficient use of storage space, according to the manufacturer. Speeds up to 600 feet per minute may be achieved, depending on product and feeding equipment capabilities, Chase said.

The Opti-Pak 2000 offers higher production throughput by providing a continuous source of material that can be spliced while the consuming equipment/process is running, thus eliminating expensive flying splice equipment or shutdown conditions, the company added.

Argus Fire announces revolutionary process

CHARLOTTE, NC — Argus Fire Control announced that it uses Guided Wave Ultrasound to inspect sprinkler pipe. This non-invasive process can save time and money by not interrupting business operations, the company said.

Argus said it can identify pipe that is impaired by corrosion. The exact pipe wall thickness can also be determined by using Guided Wave Ultrasound.

Editorial

Week of April 1, 2002

April: full of foolishness

Ah, April. Ah-choo!

Birds sing. Flowers bloom. Trees green. Sun lingers. Hope looms. Upturn sprouts?

Thought you’d never get here, fourth month. Welcome. You’ve blown in here like a tempest with an attitude, sprinkling pods of optimism and renewal. Oh, and plenty of good news! Wonder what the winds of change have brought this second quarter? Let’s check out some of the wondrous tidings you’ve strewn about hither and yon:

• According to a report filed with the Security and Exchange Commission, Kmart, as a show of patriotism, has written in its bankruptcy plan its intention to buy only American-made goods.

• Wal-Mart, meanwhile, in returning to the spirit of Sam Walton and friendly competition, decides to follow suit. “We can compete without that cheap crap, anyway,” said a spokesperson.

• President Bush says he will restrict imports from all countries that don’t allow comparable entrance of U.S.-made goods into their markets.

• In response — and in an effort to bridge relations with the U.S. and participate fairly on the world trading stage — China announces that it will raise import quota levels of American goods into its market, especially textiles and apparel, commensurate with U.S. import marks. Also, in a show of goodwill, the People’s Republic said it will eliminate the scandalous practice of transshipment.

• Burlington Industries, Guilford Mills, Pillowtex Corporation, WestPoint Stevens and VF Corporation, among others, proclaim that business activities are returning to levels not experienced “in years” and that they will each add thousands of jobs in the coming months.

• N.C. State, Clemson, Georgia Tech, Auburn and Philadelphia University report that they will enroll a record number of textile and related majors this fall.

• Pakistan President Musharraf decides not to pursue further access of its textile and apparel goods into the U.S. and will even disregard President Bush’s recent apparel quota increases, saying “the guilt is killing me. We should support the war on terrorism without needing incentives to do so.”

• Organizers of the American Textile Machinery Exhibition-International trade show advise that exhibition space for the 2004 event has been sold out and that they may be forced to add temporary exhibit space.

• U.S. Customs declares that a secure and airtight shipping network all the way from a product’s origin abroad to any U.S. port has been established with 85 countries. And counting.

• Congress passes a law that allows U.S. employees who have lost their jobs due to trade programs to be paid full-time wages to take classes that will make them more skilled and more marketable. “It’s the least we can do, since our policies put them on the streets in the first place,” said a spokes-bureaucrat.

• Disputes in the Caribbean trade pact are finally settled, as the law now requires that any dyeing and finishing of U.S. yarn and fabric used in apparel production under the initiative occur in the United States.

• Osama bin Laden has epiphany, says he realizes what he did “was wrong” and turns himself into authorities, who promptly deport him to ground zero ... where he is forced to watch rescue efforts around the clock ... while victims’ survivors come by, one by one, to scorn him and slap him around ... as one arm is tied inside a cage of buzzards and the other is secured inside a vat of acid ... and a leg is exposed inside a terrarium full of fire ants and the other is resting comfortably near a python. ... (Sorry, got carried away with that one.)

Thank you, April, for at least giving us one day to dream, one day to hope, one day to live in an idyllic world.

This one day made for fools.

Textile News Index