Lawrence Mayor Says He was “Deceived” on Polartec Closing, Layoffs Come One Day Before Anniversary of Historic Mill Fire

RIVERA-MADLawrence Mayor Dan Rivera says he has been “deceived” in the closing of Polartec on Broadway in Lawrence. The mayor released a statement late on Thursday saying that when he met with the company over their purchasing a similar business in Tennessee. Rivera says he was assured when they made that purchase that the Lawrence facility would remain open. 

As the Mayor and resident of Lawrence I am shocked and saddened that Polartec has made the announcement they did today. Almost 200 Lawrence families will be affected by this closure and it is especially disappointing to hear of this development the day before 20 year anniversary of the historic mill fire. It is further troubling that the CEO of Polartec, Gary Smith, did not deliver this message himself.
I feel that the workers and I were deceived, because just one month ago upon purchasing a similar business in Tennessee, Polartec reassured us (the Union and I) that they would not do exactly what they are doing today. The federal, state, and city governments made a long term commitment to themanufacturing jobs at Polartec. That meant that whenever Polartec had a need or an issue they wouldbring us all to the table together to figure out a way forward. That did not happen this time.I am calling for CEO Gary Smith to attend or host a meeting with myself and Mayor Zanni, the State &Federal delegations and representatives of the Governor’s office to discuss how they came to thisdecision and what we can do to fight for every job to stay in Lawrence. The close to 200 jobs that will belost through this process is not something Lawrence can accept.
Polartec’s brand has become synonymous with the concept that their high quality products are made bya great workforce, and that they have and would do anything for that workforce. This action cuts againsttheir brand.Lastly, it should be known that Lawrence is no stranger to times like these. If this closure happens, it willbe a serious blow to the city, we have been knocked down before but the city and its people are resilientand we will get back up and persevere.