New Balance has decided to furlough some of its retail, factory and office workers because of the coronavirus pandemic.
The furloughs were announced in a letter to the ‘New Balance Community” from New Balance President and CEO Joe Preston.
“Due to the rapid economic downturn related to COVID-19 and its impact on our industry and business, we have made the extremely difficult decision to furlough a portion of our owned retail, factory and office workforce,” Preston said in a statement.
Healthcare benefits for those employees are being maintained to minimize the impact of the furloughs, Preston said.
The decision will not impact factory workers in Lawrence, MA and Norridgewock, ME who are producing general use face masks for first responders. The company’s corporate office, retail locations and manufacturing facilities will remain closed until further notice for the health and safety of employees.
The full letter from Preston reads as follows:
New Balance Community,
As we face unprecedented times in our global fight against the COVID-19 pandemic, the health and safety of our associates, customers and communities remain our top priority. In recent weeks, we have closed our corporate offices, owned retail locations and manufacturing factories. These facilities will remain temporarily closed until further notice. However, we’re still here for you. You can find us on NewBalance.com for access to our full line of New Balance products.
Due to the rapid economic downturn related to COVID-19 and its impact on our industry and business, we have made the extremely difficult decision to furlough a portion of our owned retail, factory, and office workforce. We have worked hard to minimize the impact on furloughed associates as much as possible, including maintaining existing healthcare benefits with 100% of premiums paid by the company. We will also reduce salaries of certain senior-level associates and I will personally forgo 50% of my salary for the foreseeable future.
Certain U.S. factory associates’ roles are evolving to focus on producing general use face masks in our Lawrence, MA and Norridgewock, ME factories. We are ramping up production and estimate we can produce 100,000 face masks weekly at full scale. We are simultaneously working around the clock to combine our manufacturing expertise and resources to address the urgent demand for additional personal protective equipment that meets FDA criteria and can be confidently used by frontline medical staff.
We remain extremely grateful for the continued support of our New Balance team and our communities. We look forward to the time when we can welcome everyone back to work and our consumers back into our stores when our industry and business return to normal.
Thank you for your continued understanding and support.
President & CEO
Photo courtesy New Balance