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Whirlpool announces job layoffs

AMANA — Approximately 350 employees of Whirlpool’s Amana Refrigeration division will be laid-off on August 1.
The layoff was announced via a letter of notification on Friday, July 15. Whirlpool spokesperson Kristine Vernier said the notice was placed on all bulletin boards in the plant and that the union leadership team had been notified prior to the posting. The cutback affects production on third shift and impacts 300 full time employees and 50 temporary workers hired for summer production. First and second shift production is not currently affected, but Vernier noted “all layoffs are based on seniority, and so have the potential to affect all shifts.”
Vernier said displaced workers have the right to use their seniority to bid for positions on other shifts.
Whirlpool announced a 7 percent decrease in its 2011 second quarter sales compared to last year, totaling $2.4 billion, while the quarter’s operating profit was $223 million, down from $331 million in 2010. The Second Quarter Results report states results were “favorably impacted by cost reduction and productivity initiatives as well as lower incentive compensation.”
However, Whirlpool said lower industry volumes, higher material costs and an “unfavorable product price/mix” offset the savings.
“Based on the current economic outlook, the company now expects full-year 2011 U.S. industry unit shipments to decrease between 1 percent and 2 percent” the report stated.
Vernier said the labor reduction was a simple adjustment of production levels to meet demands, and that all production lines in the plant remain operational.
Whirlpool, headquartered in Benton Harbor, Mich., acquired the Amana factory in 2006 with the purchase of the Maytag Corporation. The company closed the 750,000 sq. ft. Maytag distribution warehouse in North Liberty after the acquisition, eliminating over 90 jobs.