Appliance maker Whirlpool Corp. said Jan. 31 it would be laying off 1,250 employees due to the planned closure of two manufacturing plants in the U.S. and Mexico. Whirlpool said the job losses would occur at its facilities in LaVergne, Tennessee, and at Reynosa in Mexico. The company said 500 jobs would be lost in Tennessee while a further 750 positions would be cut at Reynosa in Mexico. It expects the overhaul of its operations to cost between $15 and $20 million.
"These decisions, while difficult, are an important part of our overall operating plans, and will help ensure that we remain competitive in North America," said Al Holaday, a Whirlpool vice president. The company, which makes a range of household appliances under the Whirlpool, Maytag, KitchenAid and other brand names, said it was vying to boost manufacturing efficiencies.
Executives said production of built-in refrigerators presently assembled at LaVergne will be moved to a Whirlpool plant at Fort Smith in Arkansas. Some of the refrigeration production currently done at Reynosa will be transferred to a company site at Ramos Arizpe in Mexico. Whirlpool said the Arkansas and Ramos Arizpe plants expect to add a total 875 new jobs as a result of the manufacturing changes.
The company, whose annual sales of over $18 billion, said affected workers would receive severance packages and pledged to work with labor unions to support laid off workers.
Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2008