Layoffs force elimination of Maytag production supervisors

Layoffs force elimination of Maytag production supervisors
Date April 27, 2004
Section(s) Local News

By PETER HUSSMANN

Editor

The fallout of production level reductions at Maytag Plant 2 continued today with the elimination of a number of salaried supervisor positions.

Maytag spokesperson Lynne Dragomier said company policy does not allow her to give the number of positions eliminated but said the action was being taken as a result of recent reductions in production levels at the plant. Individuals at the Newton laundry plant were being notified today that their positions with Maytag were eliminated, she said.

“Because production levels have been reduced, we also had to review our salaried positions to make sure they were aligned,” she said. “They had to be adjusted to stay in line with our production needs. It’s a very difficult situation. It’s a tough day.”

Last week, about 115 production workers were laid off from the Newton plant. The layoffs were the result of demand for the laundry products produced in Newton, Dragomier said, along with some “indirect service areas” that were eliminated at the plant.

Two months ago, Maytag laid off 170 production workers due to decreased demand for Newton laundry products. Layoffs dating back two years brings the number to nearly 700, with about 1,525 production workers remaining. In the late 1990s, after the Neptune washer revved up production, there were nearly 2,600 production workers at the Newton plant.

The layoffs have affected employees with as many as seven years of service with the company.

Earlier this year, Maytag executives said the Newton plant would not be eligible for new product launches until a number of cost, safety, quality and delivery considerations are rectified. Recent laundry model introductions have gone to plants in Herrin, Ill., and Florence, S.C.

Maytag and UAW Local 997 are currently in contract negotiations. The current three-year contract expires June 1. In a conference call with financial analysts after Maytag reported higher sales and profits for the first quarter, CEO Ralph Hake said inventory levels for products made in Newton have been built up as part of its contingency planning associated with the labor talks.

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