Maytag offers voluntary separation program

Maytag offers voluntary separation program
 
Date November 18, 2004
Section(s) Local News
   
 
By PETER HUSSMANN

Editor

Maytag announced to its salaried workforce on Wednesday a new voluntary separation program, an extension of its One-Company restructuring effort announced in June.

Maytag spokesperson Lynne Dragomier said the program is open to all salaried employees within its “One Company organization.” Early this summer, Maytag announced plans to incorporate Maytag Corporate, Hoover and Maytag Appliances operations under one umbrella as part of a restructuring program that will eventually eliminate 20 percent of its salaried workforce and reduce costs by an expected $150 million annually.

Dragomier would not specify an exact number of positions planned for elimination through the voluntary separation agreement. She said the goal of the program is total cost reduction rather than number of jobs.

“We analyzed our costs for the remainder of the year and 2005 and determined the need to take additional action to achieve our cost improvement plan,” Dragomier said. She also noted the continuing rise in raw material and energy related items as impacting Maytag‘s bottom line.

Dragomier said employees will have “several weeks” to determine whether they would like to participate in the program. She said similar separation benefits as given to those employees already terminated by Maytag would be provided under the program.

“We realize these reductions are difficult and this is providing some choice to employees,” she said.

Dragomier would not speculate on what might happen should the cost reduction efforts sought under the program not be met.

Maytag‘s One Company restructuring program is continuing with approximately three-fourths of the estimated 1,100 positions planned for elimination completed as of the end of October. The company expects the remaining positions from its North Canton, Ohio, and Newton operations to be eliminated by the end of the year.

Dragomier also said Maytag has “decided to defer salary increases for a period of time” to its employees. She would not say how long the wage freeze will remain.

On Friday, a number of Maytag executives will meet in New York City with members of the investment community to outline its business activities and plans for the future.

One item sure to be discussed is Wednesday’s announcement of the merger of Kmart and Sears. The retailers are two of Maytag‘s biggest customers. In addition to Hoover vacuums it sells through both outlets, Maytag manufactures a line of Kenmore products for Sears.

Dragomier would not comment on the retail merger or how it might impact Maytag. The stock rose 59 cents to $20.59 on Wednesday but was down nine cents in trading this morning.

Friday’s analyst’s meeting can be heard live beginning at 7:30 a.m. through the Corporate News Center on Maytag Corporation’s Web site under “CEO presentations.”

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