OUR VIEW: Immediacy of layoffs hard to swallow
Shock, devastation and uncertainty hit Woonsocket this week. At least 25 employees of Van Dyke's Taxidermy Supply were told they no longer held jobs at the business as of Monday. Now owned by North Carolina-based McKenzie Taxidermy Supply, Van Dy...
Shock, devastation and uncertainty hit Woonsocket this week.
At least 25 employees of Van Dyke's Taxidermy Supply were told they no longer held jobs at the business as of Monday.
Now owned by North Carolina-based McKenzie Taxidermy Supply, Van Dyke's has been a staple of the Woonsocket economy for more than six decades. We've heard some local taxidermists say Van Dyke's had a special touch to many of its products, including eyes for mounts. Many Woonsocket residents and others in the area say it is especially concerning to see the business downsizing. Sadly, it's another case of small-town South Dakota losing work to the big city.
It's hard to swallow, but McKenzie Taxidermy Supply had every right to lay off any employee it wanted. Business can be tough.
Though, we have a hard time with the way in which McKenzie Taxidermy Supply executed its decision as we feel Van Dyke's parent company certainly should have been more graceful in how it handled the transition.
Our newspaper spoke with one employee who worked at Van Dykes for 19 years and was let go. She found out her health care coverage will be gone as of Oct. 1.
And we heard from just one employee who was willing to go on record about the layoffs.
We figure there are more stories out there, and now these families are scrambling to figure out what's next for them.
That could mean big changes for the community of Woonsocket, which has an estimated population of about 650.
If people are forced to move to find work elsewhere, the possible ramifications include fewer students in the school district and a significant hit to the local economy. Local gas stations, grocery stores and diners will see less business as people find jobs in other communities.
So, there's undoubtedly a large trickle-down effect when layoffs hit small-town businesses like Van Dyke's in Woonsocket. But people can adjust and prepare if given proper time.
A decision like this one that's so immediate and impacts dozens in a small community is just sad to see.