Saturday, July 16, 2011

[Profit over people] Whirlpool Lays Off 315 at Amana

Whirlpool announced on Thursday that it would be cutting 440 jobs at the plant as a result of the downturn in the economy.
By James Steward

AMANA, Iowa - Whirlpool Corp. announced plans Friday to lay off about 315 workers at its refrigerator plant in Amana due to the slow economy.

The layoffs were posted at 10 a.m., workers said, and affect much of the third shift except specialists such as tool and die makers and mechanical maintenance workers.

Randy Krewson, business agent for Machinists Local 1528, said the layoff included 250-260 permanent and 55-60 temporary workers.

The layoffs affected workers with seniority back to June 30, 2008, including many summer employees who are enrolled in college during the remainder of the year.

Whirlpool “geared up in early spring to make a lot of units,” said Randy Mumm, a 33-year member of Machinists Local 1526 from Walford who saw the layoffs posted at about 10 a.m. Friday, July 15. He said it appeared that the demand simply didn’t materialize.

Whirlpool Corp. did not immediately return messages left after normal business hours on Friday, July 15.

The company manufactures French door refrigerators at the plant and last year added a line of 50-pound icemakers.

Employees said layoffs were anticipated, but the company is limited in its work force reductions by terms of a state grant it received when it added the icemaker line, formerly housed at a plant in Evansville, Ind., that has since closed.