Hake says production costs may hinder future Newton employment

Hake says production costs may hinder future Newton employment
Date January 30, 2004
By PETER HUSSMANN
Editor

Maytag Chairman and CEO Ralph Hake told investors on Thursday that the high costs of producing appliances in Newton need to be brought down in order for production to continue at its current levels.

Hake spoke with economic analysts after the corporation released fourth quarter and year-end financial results.

Hake said that pending union contract talks with United Auto Workers Local 997 will be important to future production levels at the Newton plant. He said production operations must become more cost-effective for the Newton plant to gain any new platform production responsibilities.

“Especially in Newton, we will be examining with union leadership how that plant can become more cost-effective so that they may again become eligible for new product platforms and preserve jobs,” Hake told analysts in a conference call.

Maytag’s current contract with union workers in Newton expires on June 1.

Similar cost of production issues led Maytag to decide more than a year ago to shutdown its Galesburg, Ill., refrigeration facility and move that production to Mexico. Nearly 1,600 workers in Galesburg will lose their jobs once the plant is completely closed at the end of the year.

Current Maytag production levels in Newton stands at about 1,700.

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