WILLSBORO — Twelve workers — about 20 percent of the workforce — were notified Tuesday that it would be their last day at Commonwealth Home Fashions in Willsboro.Plant Manager Bill McClay said the layoffs were the result of the manufacturing of curtains at factories in other countries, such as Turkey and China.Foreign imports “have taken over the line, and demand for the domestic product has dropped,” he said, classifying the action as “a normal layoff.”Commonwealth now has 51 employees at the site.McClay said the no further layoffs are planned at this time. In expressing his feelings concerning the worker dismissals, he said, “I wish it wasn’t.” Commonwealth, a family-run business, was founded by the Levenson brothers in 1946.It has operated a manufacturing facility in northern New York since 1989 and has been at the Willsboro site since 1994.A July 1998 press release from Gov. George Pataki’s office indicated that Commonwealth would be investing $2.5 million and adding 100 new jobs in New York.At the time, Harvey Levenson, president of Commonwealth Home Fashions, said “careful consideration was given to various alternative sites. The final decision to locate in Willsboro was made for diverse reasons … The quality of the workforce was very much a deciding factor in expanding the Willsboro facility.”No additional information was available Wednesday from Commonwealth corporate headquarters in New York City, which deferred any comments to the Willsboro plant.
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