Blind Industries announces plant closure

·2 min read

Oct. 6—CUMBERLAND, Md. — Blind Industries and Services of Maryland announced Tuesday that it will close its textile sewing and manufacturing plant in Cumberland Oct. 29.

The decision to close the plant, located at 322 Paca Street, will affect about 46 salaried and hourly employees, said Nikki Jackson, communications manager for Blind Industries, which is headquartered in Baltimore.

"The decision to close the Cumberland plant came after a careful and strategic review of the crippling reduction of textile contracts available from BISM's federal government customers," said Frederick J. Puente, president of BISM, in a new release. "This decision was not easily made, and in no way reflects the performance of our leadership and employees in Cumberland or BISM's dedication to its mission."

According to the release, employees from Cumberland will be given opportunities and assistance in applying for employment positions within BISM's other textile manufacturing locations, and the company has made plans to extend certain benefits and will pay severance payments to its employees based upon work history and years of service.

Puente also cited changes in workforce and demographics in the Cumberland area and persistent decrease in the number of blind workers available for employment in the area as factors for the plant closing.

"We were not given any heads up on it," said Matt Miller, director of the Cumberland Economic Development Corp. "Obviously it is disappointing. We will be reaching out to them and see if there is anything we can do to reverse the decision. If they are set in that regard, we will also see what we can do to find their current employees other work.

"There are a number of job openings throughout the community. We want to do what we can to help place those workers in other suitable positions to retain them so they don't have to move away from the area. But, right now, we are limited on information."

Greg Larry is a reporter at the Cumberland Times-News. To reach him, call 304-639-4951, email and follow him on Twitter.

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