Maytag meeting positive, officials say

Maytag meeting positive, officials say
 
Date May 06, 2005
Section(s) Local News
Brief  
 
By Daily News Staff

State and local officials walked away in good spirits from a meeting with Maytag CEO Ralph Hake and other Maytag officials at the Maytag Corporate Headquarters Friday afternoon.

Rep. Leonard Boswell (D-Iowa) called the meeting to discuss the future of Maytag manufacturing in Newton.

“Today was a step to have good communication. We had a good meeting.” Boswell said, “We’re going to go off and digest it and probably talk some more.”

Newton City Council member Mike Hansen found the meeting informative.

“I got a great education on what it means to operate a global corporation,” he said, adding that Maytag officials recognized the Newton plant as the “mother factory” and “they want it to be here for years and years to come.”

Little was said about what incentives the state or city would have to offer to keep the approximately 1,300 manufacturing jobs at the Newton plant. Iowa Economic Development Director Michael Blouin spoke of joint efforts between Newton and the state.

“Everybody’s going to think about what we can do collectively,” he said. “I think everybody in that room wants to keep jobs in Iowa — keep Newton strong.”

After the meeting, Maytag Spokesman John Daggett read a prepared statement to a throng of reporters waiting outside headquarters.

“We had a productive meeting and good dialogue with the legislative delegation, the UAW and city officials. We were able to share with the group the business challenges Maytag faces in the very competitive global appliance marketplace and the particular business challenges we face at the Newton laundry plant.”

Daggett continued, saying that the company would continue to meet with union officials and government officials “before final decisions are made and announced later this year.”

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