The Wal-Mart way: Textile manufacturer Russell Corp., founded in Alexander City, is cutting 2,300 jobs by the end of 2007. Of those, 1,700 will be in the United States — 1,250 in Alabama alone. “Russell spokeswoman Nancy Young said Friday the company would phase out the positions as part of a restructuring meant in part to help it reduce costs and continue selling men’s fleece products to Wal-Mart Stores Inc. The company said it previously lost a contract to sell fleece products for boys to Wal-Mart, the world’s largest retailer. The loss meant Russell had too much manufacturing capacity, making cutbacks necessary, Young said.” Ah, Wal-Mart. Can’t survive without 'em, can’t really survive with 'em. PBS’ “Frontline” exposed the retailer’s do-or-die tactics in this 2004 report.
• Russell to cut 2,300 jobs by late '07, mostly in Alabama [Associated Press]
Power steering: When it comes to car manufacturing, where do you think of? Detroit? That’s so last century. Welcome to Alabama, with its wide range of new car styles, prices and ability to adjust quickly to market demands. “The Alabama four — Honda, Hyundai, Mercedes-Benz and Toyota — all added jobs and production capacity in 2005.” Forget textiles — think Tercels.
• While Detroit sputters, Alabama’s auto industry revs up [Mobile Register]
Midnight has broken: Prattville native Wilson Pickett was one of 11 children. As a teen, he sang in a gospel group in Detroit. But when he went solo, he made hits, including “In the Midnight Hour.” Most were recorded in Memphis or Muscle Shoals. Pickett died Thursday at age 64.
• Wilson Pickett, 64, Soul Singer of Great Passion, Dies [New York Times]
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