Ralph Stanley House government waste.
Typical Pork-Barrel Waste in Southwest, Virginia

More Job losses, mostly in healthcare related industries in Tri-Cities

January 2009

General Shale Brick of Johnson City announced that they will be laying off 75 people. The production line will shut down. They make brick, block, etc. The comany website is www.generalshale.com.

AGC to lay off 100 at Kingsport Blue Ridge Plant

KINGSPORT - AGC Flat Glass North America will temporarily lay off 100 employees at its Blue Ridge Plant in Kingsport, which manufactures pattern glass for the solar industry, serves much of the export market. The affected employees are expected to receive pink slips in the next seven to 10 days...Following the layoff, the Blue Ridge Plant will employ about 280 people. AGC also announced it will permanently close its West Virginia factory due to declining demand...

Last spring, the company shut down one of two production lines at the facility and laid off about 250 people. Earlier this year, AGC laid off more than 30 employees at the Church Hill plant. AGC employs about 250 at the Greenland (Hawkins County Tennessee) plant. The company also operates a coating facility in Abingdon, employing 80 people there. Extract Times-News 10 Jan 2009

King Pharmaceuticals of Bristol, TN will fire 72 more people, reducing its workforce to 430. This was due to loses in court over the expiration of patents for their top-selling drug Skelaxin, a muscle relaxant. Their company website is at www.kingpharm.com. Update February 26, 2009: King Pharmaceuticals reports $548 million 4th quarter loss.

300 workers fired from local healthcare industries

KINGSPORT - An ongoing financial review of Wellmont Health System has found "erroneous" accounting entries from 2006 to 2008 but none that involved theft, personal gain or government contracts. To quote the press, "During the extensive review which included interviews with dozens of past and present Wellmont employees and review of several hundred accounting entries, neither Wellmont nor its independent legal counsel found any evidence of theft or personal gain associated with the erroneous entries Furthermore, the erroneous entries did not involve any payments received or owing to government contracts or payors, and they do not present any regulatory issues for Wellmont."

But the audits also found a "significant decline in liquidity, with days cash on hand dropping approximately 48 percent since June 2007; operating losses through the first five months of fiscal 2009; and the departures of the CEO and CFO." Wellmont and its chief competitor, Johnson City-based Mountain States Health Alliance, Jan. 16 (2009) announced a series of cost-cutting measures because of the downturn in the economy.

MSHA announced the elimination of 109 positions, representing 1.4 percent of its work force of 7,863 people. For Wellmont, changes included elimination of 86 jobs and a reduction in corporate and administrative expenses at Wellmont. Another 60 positions that are now vacant will not be filled. The 86 jobs are just more than 1 percent of Wellmont's work force of 6,900 people in the region. And a new patient tower at Holston Valley Medical Center, part of the $100 million Project Platinum renovation, has been delayed. Ref. Kingsport Times-News January 28, 2009.

The report didn't include the closing of the Wellmont Fitness Center on State Street in Bristol. All together we are losing almost 300 jobs in an industry (one of the few outside government in the region) that has grown for years. What's next?

Wellmont Wellness Center to Close

The Bristol Family YMCA will take over operation of the Wellmont Wellness Center after three years of discussions between the YMCA and Bristol Regional Medical Center. "This allows the YMCA to build on its vision to improve the overall health and fitness of the Bristol community." (Now they have a monopoly.) Beginning March 3, YMCA personnel will staff and manage the Wellness Center, located at 2000 West State St. in Bristol, Tenn...

To quote the press, "Wellness Center members will have full access to all YMCA facilities and programs, and YMCA members will have the added benefit of being able to use the Wellness Center, Ayers explains. The Wellness Center facility will close for a few days in early March to allow for the managerial transition, and it will reopen to all current Wellness Center and YMCA members March 9... All existing Wellness Center memberships will be honored under the YMCA management structure. Under the management transition plan, the YMCA will lease the Wellness Center from Bristol Regional Medical Center at the rate of $1 per year..." Ref BHC January 23, 2009.

What the press failed to mention: The dirty part about this is the members of the Wellness Center were never told about this even as they kept accepting new memberships up until the announcement. They knew very well many had left the YMCA because it has become a daycare for people to dump their kids. This is an adult center, not a kinder garden. The pools are often over-crowded and the renovations (with more planned) have created chaos. The entire staff will be fired (at the Wellness Center) in addition to over 150 other job losses at Wellmont.