Hoover to eliminate production line, may cut 275 jobs

Hoover to eliminate production line, may cut 275 jobs
 
Date November 25, 2005
Section(s) Local News
Brief  
 
NORTH CANTON, Ohio (AP) — A Hoover Co. production line that makes machines used to clean floors and carpets will shut down, likely eliminating 275 jobs by year end as the company’s parent shifts work to lower cost plants.

The Eagle line’s injection molding machines will go to El Paso, Texas, with final assembly of the floor cleaning extractors in Juarez, Mexico, said Jim Repace, president of Local 1985 of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers. The machines put water and cleaning liquid onto carpet or hard floors and sucks dirt and the water back into a container.

The North Canton plant has about 1,075 hourly workers.

With the loss of the Eagle line, the plant still will produce some steam vacuums, canister vacuum cleaners, commercial uprights and a small floor scrubber and polisher.

“This is a big plant. It’s difficult to keep a plant in operation when you keep moving things out,” Repace said.

The plant employed about 1,500 hourly workers as recently as 2003.

The announcement is the latest in a series of blows for Hoover in North Canton since then.

In late 2003, union workers agreed to concessions in return for an extended contract through 2008. By June 2004, there were under 1,200 hourly workers when Maytag announced it was moving Hoover’s headquarters to Iowa and laying off about 500 white-collar workers.

A court-appointed arbitrator, Paul F. Gerhart, ruled that the product line can be moved, but the ruling will be appealed in federal court, Repace said Tuesday.

John Daggett, spokeswoman for Hoover parent Maytag Corp., based in of Newton, Iowa said Wednesday the company expects to start the line up again in its new locations early next year. He said that will mean a substantial reduction of jobs in North Canton, but he would not say how many.

The union contends removal of the line violates language in its contract prohibiting outsourcing.

Maytag began moving injection-molding machines in August. In early September, the union went to federal court, seeking an order to stop it. Maytag agreed not to remove any molds or tooling and the issue was turned over to an arbitrator.

About two years ago, the union workers agreed to concessions to keep jobs in North Canton and extended a contract through 2008.

Maytag is being bought by rival Whirlpool Corp., Benton Harbor, Mich. Maytag shareholders are to vote on the deal Dec. 22.

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