11-20-05 - SUSAN'S LIST - DREAM - I was working at a manufacturing
company. Business had gotten really bad and many people were laid off. so many
people were gone that they decided to merge the 1st and second floor people.
One of the engineers got a job and was really proud of himself. I
saw him and remembered his face but not his name, so I couldn't tell the
executive secretary who he was.
So she decided to give me Susan's List of phone numbers since I didn't
have one of everyone in the company.
Susan's list was on sheets of paper taped to her desk. She had about 8
lists of names and 4 digit numbers written next to them, but since everyone
was changing desks, most of those people were gone and since everyone was
moving, their phone numbers were different too.
So my first job was to whittle Susan's List down to who was left.
When I was done, Susan's list was down to 10 people.
At my new desk, which was larger than my original one, I pasted Susan's
list to the top ofo the desk and it became Dee's List, but everyone else would
still call it Susan's List.
At the table next to my desk was a collection of wedding topper figures.
I and another woman thought it would be fun to taste some of them since the
people were gone and would no longer care.
So, I tasted two of them that had a trio of white angels on top
facing outward in 3 directions. They were very bitter and chalky so I
considered that wasn't a very good idea and I tossed them aside for a
younger girl to have.
NOTE: The day after I dreamed this, the GM company announced they were
going to close 9 plants and lay off 30,000 people.
SOCIAL SECURITY DILEMMA
Jon Christian Ryter
Flim-Flam Sham & Why Bush Needs to Have Guest Workers
a close look at the guy or gal riding next to you on the commuter train
tomorrow morning. Don't take a train? How about the subway? How about the
bus? Or the car next to you, inching along the freeway slow enough that the
guy in the Beemer next to you can shave and not risk an accident. Or the gal
in the PT Cruiser on the other side who can deftly apply eyeliner, mascara
and lipstick as her car crawls forward one agonizing inch at a time. Or the
guy—or gal—in the SUV behind you (whom you can't see because their face
is buried in the morning's newspaper as they drive). What color is their
hair? Or rather, how old are they? How many of them, do you suppose, are
"baby boomers?" The upside is that, in a year or two, they will
join the ranks of the retired and won't be crowding your highway each
morning. The downside is their Social Security benefits will come almost
directly out of your paycheck—you and 2.3 other commuters who will support
each one of them.
odds are about one in six that the commuter next to you is a baby
boomer—born during or just after World War II—between 1941 to 1946.
There are some 18 million of them—men and women who will begin to retire
in 2006. Over this decade 27 million people will join the current recipients
in the Social Security parade. While they won't be eligible for reduced
earnings from Social Security until they reach age 62—and full benefits
when they reach 65, 66 or 67, many of them have company pensions that can be
exercised after 20, 25 or 30 years of service even if they are only 55 years
old. So waiting on that first Social Security check does not necessarily
determine when they say good-bye to the nine-to-five, or take the gold watch
and leave the factory swing shift forever.
most of those high paying union jobs with the unbelievable fringe
benefits—along with the companies that were forced by the unions to pay
them are in Mexico, Pakistan or China, with Mickey-D paychecks—without the
fringes—just like the latest job movers like Hewlett-Packard,
Eastman Kodak, and Kimberly Clark who recently announced plant
closings and job cutbacks in the United States. Since none of them expect to
be courting American labor in the future, each of them have announced major
changes in their American pension plans.
announcing plant closures in the United States, Hewlett-Packard
added that they would no longer contribute to the pension plans of its
American employees. When Eastman-Kodak, which posted a $146 million
loss during its second quarter, shed 25 thousand American jobs it also shed
the dead weight of funding its pension plan. Kimberly-Clark, maker of
Kleenex, is doing the same thing. Kimberly-Clark downsizing cost
30,500 American jobs and $775 million in severance packages. They also
converted their retirement program to a contributory 401K which means their
contributory participation will be minimal—if at all.
midyear, 2005, 5.01% of the American work force was without a job. And even
though new job growth exceeded job losses, it was clear to the Bush
Administration that even if the job drain was somehow plugged for the next
five years and job growth continued at the same rate, we still won't produce
enough new wage-earners to offset the drain on Social Security from payments
to the new retirees—nor the benefits that would be paid for prescription
drug coverage for the elderly. Adding 27 million new
Social Security and Medicare recipients over the next five years will turn
the Minutemen's worst bad dream into a George Bush version of Freddy
Krueger's Nightmare on Pennsylvania Avenue.
2010, 13% of the American population will be eligible for Social Security
and Medicare. By 2010, 17% of the population will be eligible. By 2030 that
number will grow to 20% and by 2050, that number will reach 21.75%. And
while Social Security Commissioner JoAnn Barnhart noted that a "trust
fund" of $1.7 trillion exists to cover the benefits being paid to
retirees, in point of fact the program that supports today's retirees
requires today's workers to pay for today's beneficiaries. With a $1.7
trillion trust fund to pay the benefits of recipients, why would today's
payroll deductions be needed to support today's benefits? Because the trust
fund doesn't exist—except in the form of IOUs the government can't cash.
$1.7 trillion nest egg that would have guaranteed the solvency of Social
Security well into the 22nd century was squandered by Lyndon B. Johnson and
the Great Society that created a generational pool of Democratic
voters who where chained to the feeding trough of the State—in precisely
the same way their ancestors were chained to the hulls of slaver ships that
brought them from the Dark Continent to the tobacco and cotton plantations
of the American south and the vast agricultural estates of the Caribbean
basin. Black America became the chattel of the white labor bosses and
African American civil right hucksters—the ancestors of the same Democrats
who bought their great-great-grandparents in the slave markets of Atlanta,
New Orleans, New York and Baltimore. For a monthly stipend, Black America
agreed to trade their votes—and their liberty—for the lies of the Party
and a handout from the State, living in poverty while generations of
immigrants from Europe and Asia came and flourished, and experienced the
fullness of the American dream that was denied to the voter chattel that
kept the Democrats in power for almost a hundred years as they wasted the
trust fund of the elderly.
as Congress lies to the American people about how "secure" the
nonexistent Social Security trust fund is, the politicians on Capitol Hill
continue to play the shim-sham shell game with what's left of our retirement
incomes in order to conceal from the people the stealth programs they have
implemented to hide the theft of our money. Today, to conceal the fact that
the piggy bank is empty, Congress has engaged in a new shell game to conceal
Social Security was enacted, your benefits were based on the average income
of five of the last ten years you worked. You, theoretically, could select
the years that would be counted. In other words, if your income
"slipped" due to age or health problems in the last two or three
years before you became fully vested, you could skip those years and have
your benefits pegged on five consecutive years in the middle of the ten year
period. That would allow you to maximize your benefit potential.
your benefits are based on your average income over your entire work
history—up to 35 years. Since your "top earning period" is
generally not more than 10 or 15 years, and sometimes as few as 5 years, its
obvious that Congress expanded the number of years from which benefits are
computed to lower the gross amount from which benefits are calculated, thus
greatly diminishing the monthly benefits that would be paid to the worker
upon retirement. As this sleight of hand was being manipulated, Congressmen
and Senators were assuring the American people that the politicians would
never reduce the benefits already earned by the American taxpayer.
What Congress did here was no different than what Enron or World.com
did—they stole benefits already earned by the taxpayer.
Humpty Dumpty, Congress can't put this one back together again.
Nevertheless, the Democrats have convinced America that just a little
tinkering—like higher taxes, or lowering everyone's benefits, or making
taxpayers work a few years longer—would fix it. Congress should know
better since they've already done all three of them. If you were born before
1937, you qualified as "fully eligible" for benefits at age 65. If
you were born from 1943 to 1954, you qualify for full benefits at age 66. If
you were born in 1960 or later, you will not be eligible for full
benefits—which of course, were calculated over 35 years instead of your 5
best years, would be less—until age 67. Congress—with the blessing of
their public advocacy spokesman, AARP, has been
considering legislation to postpone full retirement age until age 70.
promotes itself as the senior's advocate. Strip off the "we represent
senior America" rhetoric and the AARP isn't any different than any
other oversized, more-muscles-than-brains, obsolete labor union whose
membership is simply a commodity. Wake up, senior America! It's not about
you. It's about the money. As shocking as it may seem, most of that money
the AARP uses to sell their agenda doesn't come from graying America, it
comes from the liberal U.S. bureaucracy in Washington, DC. Over the years,
Uncle Sam has paid the AARP over a billion dollars. In exchange for
government's 30 pieces of silver, the AARP has championed the government's
position as their own. Today, the liberals on both sides of the aisle in
both Houses of Congress claims Social Security is solvent, and only needs a
tune-up to get us through another 68 years. Not in the least surprising,
that has also become the position of the AARP.
can play with the numbers all they want, but the fact remains that if any
loose change was dropped into the Social Security piggy bank today, you'll
hear a hallow sound when the money hits the bottom. The piggy bank is empty.
The money's gone, It was spent over 30 years ago. But that hasn't stopped
the Democrats from waving worthless IOU chits claiming the fund still
contains $1.7 trillion. But that barnyard strutting is just so much
Cinderella rhetoric. When you let the fox guard the hen house, the chicken
coop will always be empty when Sunday dinner rolls around, and all of the
chicken bones, which have been stripped clean, are lying around on the floor
by the feeding trough of the State.
1950, 16.5 workers supported each Social Security recipient. Today, 3.3
workers carry that burden. In less than 15 years that ratio will drop to 2.2
workers supporting each retiree. By 2040, 2.0 workers will be required to
support each Social Security recipient. Do the math. It doesn't get
any better—it will only get worse. It should be obvious to anyone with a
pocket calculator why the president is pushing hard for an amnesty program
for illegal aliens. Bush desperately needs to find 15 million new
taxpayers—not just to keep Social Security and Medicare solvent, but to
keep the US Treasury and the Federal Reserve solvent. Bush needs to legalize
15 to 20 million illegals who are already earning a living in the taxless
cash-and-carry world of the underground economy in the United States.
president needs to reach a compromise with the secure border contingent, and
he needs to reach it quickly. Bush needs to sign on to the fence, and the
Minutemen need to sign on to the president's amnesty program with a proviso
that was advanced by some members of Congress. Green cards—but no
citizenship—should be given to any Mexican national who is currently
gainfully employed in this country providing the illegals can pass a
background check, with no green cards given until a thorough security check
is completed. Second, any children born to "non-citizens""
should not be granted blanket citizenship because their parents, who had no
legal right to be in the country, gave birth. Citizenship to the children of
illegal aliens should be granted only if their parents are given
citizenship. That way, if it becomes necessary to deport the guest worker,
there won't be any "legal" complications to bar an expedited
deportation of the entire family, or legal arguments lawyers can use to keep
illegals in the country because their children are citizens.
finally, Bush needs to reach a "guest worker" compromise on the
Patriot Act. The Patriot Act needs to be reworded to specifically exclude
natural American citizens from its tenets. The unconstitutional aspects of
the Patriot Act should be applied only upon those who should not be
construed as "covered" by the Bill of Rights—illegal aliens,
"guest" workers or students, visitors to this country, and
resident aliens, dual-nation citizens (including naturalized Americans who
hold dual citizenship since they have dual loyalties). Natural American
citizens should be afforded all of the protection guaranteed to them by the
Bill of Rights. Non-citizens and dual-citizens should be afforded the
protection of the UN Declaration of Human Rights (which, of course, means
they have no rights and no protection).
can't clear these hurdles, and solve these problems very, very quickly, the
American people are going to wake up one morning in the not too distant
future and realize they are simultaneously living two cult classic movies:
1984 and Solyent Green.
© 2006 Jon C. Ryter - All Rights
Jon Ryter's book "Whatever
Happened to America?"
Jon Christian Ryter is the pseudonym of a former
newspaper reporter with the Parkersburg, WV Sentinel. He authored a
syndicated newspaper column, Answers From The Bible, from the mid-1970s
until 1985. Answers From The Bible was read weekly in many suburban
markets in the United States.
Today, Jon is an advertising
executive with the Washington Times. His website, www.jonchristianryter.com
has helped him establish a network of mid-to senior-level Washington
insiders who now provide him with a steady stream of material for use both
in his books and in the investigative reports that are found on his website.
Ohio works to lure Toyota plant
Thursday, January 5, 2006
THE COLUMBUS DISPATCH
Ohio, which has struggled to attract new jobs in recent years, is
making a bid to land a proposed Toyota engine plant and other possible
projects by the automaker.
Gov. Bob Taft and Lt. Gov. Bruce E. Johnson said officials are
talking up potential sites for an engine plant in southwestern Ohio in
addition to pushing tax breaks and other incentives to keep and attract
The state has identified three potential industrial sites -- in
Clinton, Fayette and Preble counties, according to an Oct. 19 letter
from Taft to Seiichi Sudo, president of Toyota Motor Manufacturing North
America. Any of those locations would provide ample skilled labor and
offer excellent access to suppliers Toyota has developed in the northern
Kentucky region, Taft wrote.
He also sent a letter Dec. 2 to Toyota on the matter.
Ohio is offering free land and up to $30 million in grants over 15
years to help with infrastructure improvements and worker training, Taft
Toyota spokesman Daniel Sieger said the automaker is considering
whether to build a fifth North American engine plant but could not
discuss details, including when a decision might be made.
Published reports say officials in Michigan, Mississippi,
Tennessee and other states are pushing for the project, and Johnson said
he expects to hear some news from Toyota this year.
Johnson said Toyota is considering two projects, including an
assembly plant. Sieger said he was only aware of the proposed engine
Toyota's other engine plants are in Buffalo, W.Va; Georgetown, Ky;
Hunstville, Ala.; and Ontario, Canada, he said.
There's a good chance the proposed engine plant will be built in
the Midwest to support Toyota's assembly operations in Kentucky, but
it's not clear what will happen, said David Cole, chairman of the Center
for Automotive Research in Ann Arbor, Mich.
Meanwhile, Taft and House and Senate leaders are pushing plans to
help the struggling auto industry in Ohio with tax breaks and other
Taft said he also plans to meet with executives from Delphi Corp.
along with General Motors and other automakers with operations in Ohio
at the annual North American International Auto Show in Detroit next
Parts supplier Delphi, which has 900 jobs in
Columbus and 13,000 statewide, is in bankruptcy, while other automakers
with significant Ohio operations have announced plant closings and major
"We can't guarantee the success of any of these automotive
companies,'' Johnson said. "But we can work like hell to attract
their investment, and that's what we're doing.''
Taft signed a bill yesterday that allows the state to start
spending some of the $2 billion bond issue approved by voters in
November. Of the money, $500 million is for Taft's Third Frontier
program to foster high-tech job creation, $150 million for business-site
development and $1.35 billion for road, bridge and water projects.
The bill tries to better ensure the entire $1.6 billion Third
Frontier program is accessible to all parts of the state, not just the
three largest cities.
The bond issue, tax reforms, and slowed budget spending have
"taken Ohio, a state that in many cases was on the defense in terms
of economic policy, and put us on the offense,'' said House Speaker Jon
A. Husted, R-Kettering.
Republican and Democratic leaders yesterday praised the bipartisan
effort on the bond issue, but Senate Minority Leader C.J. Prentiss,
D-Cleveland, said the cooperation is unlikely to last.
"As we celebrate the bipartisanship today, there will
probably be a war next week with House Bill 3,'' she said, referring to
an election-reform bill.
Federal-Mogul unveils restructuring plan
under bankruptcy protection since 2001, announced Friday a three-year
restructuring plan that includes plant closings
and cutting 4,500 jobs.
The restructuring plan will cost the company between $125 million and
$150 million, and affect up to 25 of its facilities. The company hopes
to exit Chapter 11 protection by mid-2006.
Analysts see this as the latest development in the drive for auto
parts suppliers to cut costs and move manufacturing overseas, closer
to fast-growing markets.
Federal-Mogul is the home of such famous brands as Champion Spark
Plugs, Ferodo, Moog, Wagner and Sealed Power.
|Alcoa Profit Falls as Costs Erode
Aluminum Price Gain
Jan. 9, 2006 (Bloomberg) -- Alcoa Inc., the world's biggest
aluminum maker, said fourth-quarter profit plunged 16 percent as
higher costs and disruptions at some plants eroded the benefit of
higher metals prices. The shares plunged in after-hours trading.
Net income fell to $224 million, or 26 cents a share, from
$268 million, or 30 cents, a year ago, Pittsburgh-based Alcoa said
today in a statement. Sales rose 12 percent to $6.67 billion.
A 22 percent jump in profit from raw aluminum was eroded by
$93 million of costs and lost production
that included shutdowns in the U.S. caused by two hurricanes,
unplanned repairs at a plant in Australia and a strike in Spain,
Alcoa said. Chief Executive Officer Alain Belda has shed jobs and
closed plants such as a Maryland smelter last month to cut
``There is still the cost issue to battle,'' BMO Nesbitt
Burns analyst Victor Lazarovici said in a Jan. 6 interview from
New York. ``The oil and gas price really has hurt them on the
packaging side of the business, but there are other input costs
pressures as well.''
Excluding 11 cents a share of costs, including the
disruptions and restructuring costs, profit from continuing
operations was 35 cents a share, the company said. A year earlier,
profit on that basis was 39 cents, Alcoa said.
Lazarovici, who rates Alcoa ``outperform'' and doesn't own
the stock, expected profit of 38 cents a share, excluding some
items. Alcoa was expected to earn 37 cents, the average estimate
of 18 analysts surveyed by Thomson Financial. Thomson declined to
say whether its estimates include one-time costs or gains.
Shares of Alcoa fell 93 cents, or 3 percent, to $29.64 at
6:43 p.m., after the close of regular trading on the New York
Stock Exchange. A close at that price would be the biggest
percentage drop since Sept. 23, after the company said third-
quarter profit would fall below the average estimate of analysts.
Before today, Alcoa had dropped 0.3 percent in the past year
on concern the benefits of higher prices were being eroded by
rising costs for energy and chemicals such as caustic soda used to
extract aluminum from mined bauxite. Alcoa shut the Maryland
smelter last month because of high prices for electricity, which
can be a third of the cost of making aluminum.
``Entering 2005, we anticipated significant pressures from
rising input, energy costs and other cost inflation, but actual
increases were even higher,'' Belda said in the statement.
2005 Profit Drop
Disruptions to Alcoa plants in Jamaica and Texas following
hurricanes in the Gulf of Mexico reduced fourth-quarter profit by
$55 million, Chief Financial Officer Joseph C. Muscari said during
a conference call with analysts. Restructuring costs, including
plant closings and job cuts, totaled $19 million, he said.
Net income for 2005 fell to $1.23 billion, or $1.40 a share,
from $1.31 billion, or $1.49, in the previous year, including $900
million of increased costs, Alcoa said. Shipments of aluminum
products rose 7.5 percent last year to 5.5 million metric tons.
The company shipped 1.39 million tons of aluminum products in the
fourth quarter alone.
``It's been real murky with Alcoa because it seems like any
benefit they gained from a higher aluminum price gets offset by
higher costs for raw materials and energy,'' said Brian Hicks, who
oversees the $850 million Global Resources Fund at San
Antonio-based U.S. Global Investors.
The price of aluminum, used in cars, beverage cans and
aircraft parts, averaged $2,070.70 a metric ton on the London
Metal Exchange during the fourth quarter, up 14 percent from the
average a year earlier and 12 percent more than during the third
quarter. Prices reached a 16-year high of $2,329 on Jan. 4 and are
up 28 percent from a year ago, as producers shut high-cost
smelters and economic growth spurred demand for metals.
Alcoa said its average aluminum price in the quarter rose 12
percent to $2,177 a ton from $1,942 a year earlier.
``The price of aluminum is finally starting to gain momentum
and with it earnings will follow,'' Lazarovici said. ``It's
catch-up time for the aluminum sector and aluminum stocks.''
Profit in the raw aluminum business, Alcoa's biggest, rose
to $242 million in the fourth quarter from $198 million a year
``In the year ahead, we don't foresee the same sharp spikes
on input prices, and our initiatives will gain further momentum to
offset inflation and improve the bottom line,'' Belda said.
Aluminum probably will average about $2,094 a ton this year,
up from an average of $1,901 in 2005, according to the median
estimate of 11 analysts surveyed by Bloomberg.
Alcoa is positioning itself to take advantage of growing
global consumption for aluminum, which Belda said will double in
``Asia will account for 60 percent of the growth and in
2020, will consume as much aluminum as the entire world does
today,'' Belda said on the call with analysts. ``Putting this into
perspective, this will require nearly 80 new smelters of 400,000
metric tons annual capacity, assuming that all of today's capacity
For 2006, Belda said that Alcoa ``will continue to achieve
profitable growth by capitalizing on the strong markets, using
technology as strategic advantage, integrating Russia and making
opportunistic acquisitions that create value.''
To contact the reporter on this story:
Doug Alexander in Toronto at email@example.com
Last Updated: January 9, 2006 19:04
OfficeMax closings' effect on KC area unclear
OfficeMax Inc. said Tuesday that it will close 110, or
about 11 percent, of its roughly 950 retail stores throughout
the country by the end of the first quarter as part of its
The company, based in Itasca, Ill., has five Kansas
City-area stores. It didn't say where the closings will occur or
how many jobs they will affect.
The company said it will give more details within 30 days.
In a written release, the company said it also will close
its wood-polymer building materials plant near Elma, Wash., in the
first quarter. The company said it has reported the plant's
financial results as a discontinued operation since 2004.
The company said it expects to record pretax charges of
about $141 million for the store closings, about $41 million for
the plant closing near Elma and about $5 million for other
restructuring actions, for a total of $187 million. Of that, the
company will record charges of about $46 million in the fourth
quarter and about $141 million in the first quarter.
Chairman and CEO Sam Duncan said in the release that the
actions announced Tuesday won't change the company's plan to open
as many as 70 stores nationwide in 2006.
Labor unions may be on rise
By Bill Clifton
One of our colleagues recently said labor union organizing
will increase in the coming years as employees become desperate
Why? Union organizing in the private sector (except in
health care and the public sector) has been virtually nonexistent,
relatively speaking, for years. Employees have been wise enough to
realize that unions organize for the benefit of themselves, not
for the benefit of employees.
Most major unions view themselves as political and social
movements, focusing on getting laws passed or getting candidates
elected (or defeated) and talking about social justice and
fairness. Union leaders claim they cannot organize because the law
is against them or employer opposition is more intense than ever,
but the law hasn't changed much in more than 50 years and employer
opposition has always been intense.
The truth is it is the attitudes of the employees toward the
company that determines if they bring in a union to represent
them. Employees organize. Professional outside union organizers
just point the way. Employees are more likely to believe an
organizer's message when they perceive a lack of equity, a lack of
control and a lack of security. They organize when they think
management doesn't care about them.
What fuels these perceptions? CEOs paid hundreds of times
what the hourly employees are paid. Senior executives prosecuted
for stealing millions while employees' medical costs increases.
Frequent and substantial changes implemented by unseen and unknown
managers. News stories about plant closings and jobs going
When the costs of health care are shifted to employees year
after year with no end in sight, and with no understandable
explanation, employees sense equity, control and security have
been lost. When managing via e-mail replaces managing "by
walking around" and meeting with employees, these things, and
others, work together to create a perception that management will
not take the time to listen.
Collectively, we are all doing some of these things, maybe
several of them. If you recognize your company when reading this,
be wary. Your employees may become desperate and angry. Then they
may become receptive to the organizer's message.
The unions that just broke off from the AFL-CIO have figured
this out. They are looking to prove themselves right. Don't help
Bill Clifton is a management employment lawyer in Macon with
the national labor firm of Constangy Brooks & Smith.
|Friday, January 13, 2006 12:39
400 idled as Tyson closes Independence, Oelwein
WATERLOO --- Approximately 400 workers in
Independence and Oelwein will be out of a job March 17 with the
closing of two meat processing operations.
Tyson Foods announced today it is closing the former Iowa Ham
meat-processing operations in those cities, idling about 300 workers
in Independence and another 90 to 100 in Oelwein. The Independence
operation is one of that city's largest employers.
The Independence plant had been in operation more than 50 years,
and the Oelwein plant more than 40 years, under Iowa Ham and other
Workers were notified of the closings today, company spokesman Gary
Mickelson said. They will be given a chance to work at other Tyson
facilities, including the 2,400-worker Waterloo pork plant, he said.
"We're also considering having a job fair for team members so
they're also aware of the available job opportunities in the
community," Mickelson said. Details of that event are still being
"This is a tough decision because it affects the lives of nearly
400 team members. It affects the families as well as two great plant
communities," Mickelson said. "Given the age of the plants,
and the investment needed for them to support future production needs,
it was not economically feasible to keep them open."
Tyson had been evaluating the Independence and Oelwein plants for
about six months, Mickelson said.
"We thank our team members for their hard work and support of
these plants," said Bill Lovette, senior group vice president of
poultry and prepared foods for Springdale, Ark.-based Tyson.
"We'll do our best to help them as they seek other employment at
another Tyson location or with other employers in the area."
The Independence and Oelwein plants are 126,000 and 43,000 square
feet, respectively. Both plants will be offered for sale, Tyson
Business leaders in Independence and Oelwein only heard of the plant
Tammy Shaffer, president of the Independence Area Chamber of Commerce,
said the decision to close was "unfortunate."
"Independence will be sorry to lose them," Shaffer said.
Shaffer hopes the Independence plant will not remain vacant long.
"My hope is that someone will take advantage of that facility and
be able to bring a comparable business in," Shaffer said.
Sally Falb, executive director for Oelwein Economic Development, said
the news comes as a surprise and could impact quality of life.
"We are extremely disappointed. This is devastating to our
community to lose important jobs for families," Falb said.
Despite the setback, she pledged to work on finding jobs for families.
"We will want to see what we can do to fill those facilities ...
so our local citizens have jobs to go to," she said. Falb added
area economic developers have some prospects interested in the area.
"We hope to have good news is a few months," Falb said.
Ted Harms, rapid response coordinator with Iowa Workforce Development,
said the announcement was sad.
"What a way to start the morning on Friday the 13th," Harms
With a plant closing of this size, Tyson is required to give the state
60 days' notice before the plant's final date, under the federal
Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act of 1988, also known
as the "Warn Act." Once the state receives the notice,
preparations for a rapid response team will be made. Rapid response
assists displaced workers in finding employment as soon as possible
after a plant closing or mass layoff.
"I will gather the very same rapid response team that I'm
going to gather for the APAC closing," in Waterloo, announce
earlier this week, Harms said. APAC Customer Services announced Monday
it will close its Waterloo call center in mid-March, eliminating
nearly 300 jobs.
IBP inc. bought the Oelwein and Independence plants in late 1999. IBP
was acquired by Tyson in 2001. At the time of the acquisition, IBP
officials said they had no plans to lay off workers.
Tyson announced the closings concurrent with plans to reinvest in, and
move production to, operations in Cherokee, as well as plants in
Concordia, Mo., and Buffalo, N.Y. Tyson will spend $30 million to add
bacon production at Cherokee, and ham operations there are being moved
to Concordia and Buffalo. Production at Independence and Oelwein
similarly is being moved to other Tyson facilities. In addition to
Concordia and Buffalo, Tyson also has processed meat plants in Ponca
City, Okla., and Houston. About $15 million has been invested in the
Buffalo facility over the past two years.
The two plant closings and investments in other facilities are
projected to save Tyson $15 to $20 million before taxes, or 3 cents
per share. The company is publicly traded on the New York Stock
The moves also will result in the temporary idling of some 50
unionized workers at the 650-employee Cherokee plant over the next
several months, company officials said. The Independence and Oelwein
facilities are nonunion plants.
Staff Writers RC Balaban and Brian Spannagel contributed to this
Contact Pat Kinney at (319) 291-1484 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Waterfield Mortgage Co. has officially submitted notice to the
city it will lay off 650 employees starting in March.
Fort Wayne Mayor Graham Richard’s office received the
company’s Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification on Tuesday
outlining the positions that will be cut from the company’s three
locations in the city. Terminations are expected to begin March 14.
By law, employers must file the notification 60 days in advance of
plant closings and mass layoffs. The document outlines specifically the
job titles and number of employees to be laid off. The notification is
available in the mayor’s office on the ninth floor of the City-County
Building, 1 Main St.
Waterfield announced Friday it had been sold to American Home
Mortgage Investment Corp. of Melville, N.Y.
WASHINGTON — Regulators moved Tuesday to require companies to
provide far greater detail about executives’ pay and perks in an
effort to bring more openness to an area that has provoked investor
The five-member Securities and Exchange Commission voted
unanimously to propose the biggest changes in rules governing disclosure
of executives’ compensation since 1992.
Publicly traded companies for the first time would be required to
furnish tables in annual filings showing the total yearly compensation
for their chief executive officers, chief financial officers and the
next three highest-paid executives. The true costs to the bottom line of
the executives’ pay packages, including stock options, would have to
be spelled out.
Grand Rapids Auto parts plant to close
Wednesday, January 18, 2006
By Greg Chandler
The Grand Rapids Press
ZEELAND -- An automotive parts plant will close its doors by
this fall, putting more than 70 employees out of work.
GKN Sinter Metals will close its plant on Centennial Street by
September as part of a corporate restructuring plan for its North
American plants, company spokeswoman Kristyn Godlew said Tuesday.
"We had been operating below capacity for quite some time
(at the plant)," Godlew said.
GKN, based in Auburn Hills and a subsidiary of a parent company
based in the United Kingdom, had owned and operated the plant since
1997. The plant manufactured parts that were produced through a
high-temperature heating process known as sintering, Godlew said.
Employees will be let go over a phased period as final customer
orders for the plant are completed. They are being offered incentives to
stay through the process and also are being offered separation packages,
The restructuring plan also includes closing GKN's plant in
Owosso, which would leave the plant in the Detroit suburb of Romulus as
the company's only Michigan plant. Discussions are continuing on the
future of the Romulus facility, Godlew said.
The closings would leave GKN with 16 plants in North America,
Heights plant awaits layoffs
Weyerhaeuser union seeks solution to
keep box factory open.
By G. JEFFREY AARON
January 18, 2006
Some production workers at
Weyerhaeuser's Elmira Heights facility can expect layoff
notices later this month or by early February, the local
plant's general manager said.
Meanwhile, the United Auto Workers, which represents
Weyerhaeuser's hourly workers and wants to delay or
prevent the closing, has scheduled a meeting with company
officials next week to discuss the reasons behind the
decision to close.
Weyerhaeuser, based in Federal Way, Wash., announced in
mid-December the Elmira Heights plant, which employs about
115 workers, is one of the 11 company's facilities that
will close or be sold during the first quarter of 2006.
In addition to the local facility at 365 Upper Oakwood
Ave., Weyerhaeuser plants in Bedford Heights, Ohio; Little
Rock, Ark.; Matthews, N.C.; Pulaski, Tenn.; Waco, Texas:
and Kansas City, Mo., will close. A total of about 800
workers will be affected.
Last week, staffers from the New York State Labor
Department's Workforce New York offices in Elmira and
Corning held information sessions at the cardboard box
maker's facility to inform workers of the services
available to them when they lose their jobs.
Elmira Heights plant manager James Hoag said workers who
operate the equipment that cuts the corrugated paper into
the appropriate box shapes will be among the first to be
Those functions are already being transferred to other
Weyerhaeuser locations, but filling existing customers'
orders will also affect the rate at which the employees
will be laid off, Hoag said.
Office workers, who are integrating the local office's
functions with those of the Weyerhaeuser facility in
Rochester, will be among the last workers to be laid off,
Hoag said. All operations at the local factory will phased
out by April or May, he said.
A meeting between the UAW and company officials is
scheduled for Tuesday, UAW International Representative
Scott Montani said. A discussion on why the local plant
will be closed is at the top of the agenda.
But the decision to close the Elmira Heights plant wasn't
based solely on its profit margins, Hoag said.
"It's about the decline of manufacturing in the
United States. There's just too much manufacturing
capacity for the market's size. We have some good people
here, but they just happened to be in the wrong place at
the wrong time," Hoag said.
Montani also said the union will request information to
include in an application for Trade Adjustment Act or
Training Readjustment Act funds. The federal programs
extend state unemployment benefits and provide retraining
money for displaced workers.
The programs were most recently used locally to help MT
Picture Display Corp. workers when the Horseheads
cathode-ray picture tube maker closed in 2004. But
approval this time around could be tougher, Montani said.
"(The Weyerhaeuser closings) is a secondary loss of
jobs. The customers have moved overseas and not the jobs,
which could make it harder to make the case," he
Even without the federal money, Weyerhaeuser's workers
could still get help through the state's Workforce
Investment Act, said Matthew Shick, executive director of
the Chemung-Schuyler-Steuben Work Force New York office in
"Because it's not the (Trade Adjustment Act) program,
there won't be quite as many programs available to the
individual," Shick said. "But they have the
information, can start thinking about it now, come in and
see the counselor and start working through the
Day of encouragement - North Carolina
200 gather to pray for embattled Caldwell County's future
By Josh Yoder
Record Staff Writer
Sunday, January 22, 2006
LENOIR - Some prayed aloud, others silently.
Some kneeled against metal folding chairs. Many held hands
with friends, family members or strangers. More than a few wept.
They prayed for jobs. For guidance. For better times.
About 200 people gathered at the Caldwell County Fairgrounds
on Saturday for a communitywide day of prayer and encouragement for
the economically embattled county.
Waves of plant closings and layoffs have taken their toll on
the county. In July, Caldwell’s unemployment rate was the highest
in the state at 13.1 percent.
“We need prayer in Caldwell County,” said the Rev. Rodney
Raby, who organized the event.
Raby, pastor of Nazareth Advent Christian Church in Lenoir,
knows firsthand about the county’s troubles. He was laid off in
April from the Broyhill Furniture Harper Plant. He’d worked there
for 19 years.
Later that month, Raby found a job as a manager at Bernhardt
Furniture. But he knows many aren’t so lucky.
“People are down and out,” he said. “They need some
help. They need support.”
At Saturday’s event, Raby gave a few opening remarks before
the group stood up to sing “Amazing Grace.”
Local dignitaries present at the event included Caldwell
County Sheriff Gary Clark and U.S. Rep. Patrick McHenry, who led the
group in a prayer.
Later, folks prayed in smaller groups or by themselves.
Kevin Matheson of Hudson paced though the room, Bible in hand,
looking upward as he spoke his prayers.
Matheson, pastor of The Church of His Holy Spirit in Lenoir,
said many people in his congregation have been affected by layoffs.
In 2003, Matheson’s father was laid off from Bernhardt Furniture
after working for the country for 29 years.
“It’s a rarity for folks to have a steady job,” he said.
“Some people have just given up here.”
Don Phillips seemed to weep as he prayed, his eyes tightly
closed as he mouthed his prayers aloud. In his hands, the
71-year-old King’s Creek man clutched a well-worn leather Bible.
“I’ve got so many neighbors and friends who are out of
work,” he said. “I’m blessed, I don’t need anything, but I
see so many people who do.”
Phillips’ eyes welled with tears as he talked about the
furniture companies - once the breadbasket for Caldwell County -
that have moved jobs elsewhere.
“If something ain’t done, Lenoir will be a ghost town,”
Phillips said he prayed for jobs. He prayed children would
have enough to eat and the elderly would get the medicine they need.
He prayed that those in need would turn to God.
“There’s just so many people who are hurting,” he said.
Caldwell County’s jobless rate reached as high as
13.1 percent earlier this year. It remains among the state’s top
North Carolina counties with highest jobless rates:
(Most recent numbers for November)
1. Rutherford - 9.1
2. Vance - 8.4
3. Scotland - 8.3
4. Edgecombe - 8.2
5. Caldwell - 8.0
How Caldwell County’s rate compares to other Hickory metro
Alexander - 5.3
Burke - 6.0
Catawba - 5.7
| 322-4510 x5410 or 304-6917
|Konica Minolta to cut 140
jobs in Mahwah
Saturday, January 21, 2006
Konica Minolta's recent decision to exit the camera and color
film businesses will result in the elimination of 140 to 150 jobs in
Mahwah, a company official said Friday.
About 80 more staffers will be laid off from a film processing
plant in Mount Laurel, the company told its employees.
A complete shutdown of Mahwah-based Konica Minolta Photo Imaging
USA is expected to be completed by the end of the year, with the first
job cuts to take place around March.
Many of the employees in Bergen County were working in Konica's
sales operation before the company merged with Minolta in 2003. Some
have been working in Mahwah for decades, the company official said.
The Mahwah site has been Konica Minolta's base for North
American sales and marketing of cameras, film, photographic paper and
inkjet printers. It also sells mini photo labs used in one-hour photo
Nationwide, about 500 Konica Minolta jobs will be eliminated, an
official said. The parent company, Konica Minolta Holdings, of Tokyo,
said Thursday that it would cut 3,700 of 33,000 jobs worldwide.
The restructuring, which also includes some changes in top
management, was spurred by heavy losses amid increased competition and
a rapid shift to digital cameras. The company said in November it
expected to lose more than $400 million in the current fiscal year.
Employees at Konica Minolta's photo copier division in Ramsey
will not be affected by the downsizing, a company official said.
The plant in Mount Laurel that will be closed does overnight
processing of film dropped off at supermarkets.
Workers in Mahwah were notified on Thursday of the planned
shutdown and were told that they would be offered severance pay and
outplacement services, but the company did not provide specifics to
Konica Minolta is not the only company trimming jobs as a result
of customer shifts to digital photography.
Fujicolor said in November it will close its Hackensack
film-processing plant and lay off all 169 employees there. And Kodak
closed a film-processing plant in Fair Lawn last year, one of nine
plant closings nationwide, eliminating 220 Bergen County jobs.
People familiar with the plan say:
Ford will cut at least 25,000 jobs
and close 10 parts and assembly plants, likely including
plants in St. Louis; St. Paul, Minn.; and Wixom.
Ford will reduce its North American manufacturing
capacity by about 25 percent or by 1 million units.
Salaried layoffs will begin Monday.
Ford Motor Co. workers already have a name for tomorrow.
"It's Black Monday," said Mark Mockaitis, a line
worker at Ford's assembly plant in St. Paul, Minn.
Like workers from Wixom to St. Louis to Mexico, Mockaitis is
anxiously awaiting Monday morning when Chairman and Chief
Executive Officer Bill Ford Jr. takes the podium in Dearborn to
outline a massive restructuring plan he calls the "Way
As The Detroit News first reported Dec. 7, Ford will shutter
at least 10 assembly and parts plants and cut at least 25,000
blue-collar jobs in North America over the next five years,
according to people familiar with the plan.
The automaker also plans to cut 4,000 salaried jobs by April
1. The layoffs begin this week. Ford also will commit to reducing
its number of top executives by March 1.
While workers like Mockaitis wonder where their jobs will be
tomorrow, Wall Street waits to see whether the plan goes far
The company that led America to greatness and put the world
on wheels now faces one of the biggest challenges in its 103-year
history. And for Bill Ford, the great-grandson of Henry Ford, the
stakes are not only the fate of a storied company, but the legacy
of one of America's last great dynasties.
"It's the most serious crisis at Ford in modern
times," said David Cole, head of the Center for Automotive
Research in Ann Arbor. "I think they view this as a last
The situation could hardly be more critical. Ford's market
value has plunged by an astonishing $40 billion since 2001. Its
North American automotive business is hemorrhaging cash and market
Ford posted a net profit of $1.88 billion for the first nine
months of 2005, but its North American unit has lost more than
$1.4 billion before taxes. The numbers are expected to look even
grimmer Monday when final 2005 financial results are reported.
Meanwhile, Ford's domestic brands -- Ford, Lincoln and
Mercury -- saw their combined share of the U.S. market fall 4.7
percent last year, from 18.3 percent in 2004 to 17.4 percent in
2005. A decade earlier, Ford's market share stood at nearly 25.6
percent. Every percentage point of market share represents 170,000
"We do have a North American auto business issue and we
are committed to fixing that," Bill Ford said. "It's
going to be painful for some people."
So far, Ford has responded by cutting its white-collar work
force, selling its Hertz rental car business and reshuffling
senior management. But one fundamental reality remains unchanged.
Ford's North American manufacturing operations still look a
lot like they did when the company built one out of every four
cars and trucks on the road. Ford has the factory capacity to
build 4.5 million vehicles in North America, but produced just 3.3
million last year. As a result, Ford's factory utilization rate is
the lowest in the industry -- just 79 percent, Harbour Consulting
said last week.
Trimming the fat
Most manufacturers would have been forced to downsize a long
time ago. However, like the other domestic automakers, Ford's
union contracts limited its ability to trim manufacturing
operations to match its greatly reduced market share.
Even if Ford boarded up all of its American factories
tomorrow, it would still have to pay the 87,000 United Auto
Workers members who labor in them, while also continuing to cover
health care and pension costs not only for them, but also for
twice that many UAW retirees and their dependents.
The plant closings and layoffs that Ford announces Monday
will either require the approval of the UAW or have to wait until
the current contract expires in 2007.
Analysts have identified several factories that could get
the ax Monday. Ford assembly plants in St. Louis, Atlanta and St.
Paul are in jeopardy, along with one in Cuatitlan, Mexico. Ford's
vastly underused plant in Wixom is also expected to be closed.
The Detroit News and other media outlets reported last week
that Global Insight Inc., a leading industry analysis firm,
believed the Wixom plant would be spared and Ford's plant in
Atlanta would close. Since then, Ford insiders have said the
Global Insight forecast was flawed.
On Saturday, Gov. Jennifer Granholm expressed hope that the
Wixom plant, which employs more than 1,500 workers, will remain
open. "I and my administration continue to be in regular
contact with Ford officials related to any impact on Michigan
facilities. The company has not provided any specific information
about its plans," Granholm said.
UAW officials said last week they had not seen Ford's plan,
but were bracing for bad news.
"You're talking about people, communities, hopes and
dreams and aspirations, and it's very difficult and trying for our
membership," said UAW President Ron Gettelfinger. "We
don't like to see any jobs go away. We're always in hope that,
down the road, we'll be able to reverse some of those
In total, Ford is expected to reduce its North American
factory capacity by about 25 percent, or more than 1 million
Including hourly and salaried job cuts, Ford will commit
Monday to reducing its 120,000-member North American work force by
about a quarter, according to people familiar with the plan.
Top executives will not be spared. Bill Ford also is
expected to announce a significant reduction in the number of
corporate officers at Ford by March 1, according to people
familiar with the plan.
One of those expected to leave is Steve Lyons, group vice
president over sales and marketing for Ford, Lincoln and Mercury.
He is negotiating to become a Ford dealer in Phoenix.
However, Mark Fields, president of the Americas Division --
the chief architect of the "Way Forward" plan --
stresses it is about a lot more than just closing factories and
laying off workers.
A new strategy unfolds
Ford is expected to outline a strategy to bring a host of
new cars and trucks to the market with emotionally charged design
and better quality.
The automaker will detail plans to slash vehicle development
time and costs through more centralized engineering processes and
more sharing of components and platforms. At the same time, Ford
will continue to retool factories to allow them the flexibility to
build several cars on the same line and respond to market demand.
"They haven't been able to do that in the past. Every
Ford, Chrysler and GM plant was basically dedicated to a product
-- and that's not the case with the Japanese," said
manufacturing expert Ron Harbour. "As they improve that
flexibility, you can have fewer plants and more highly utilize
And Ford will discuss a new marketing strategy designed to
sell vehicles with lower rebates and increase profit margins for
new vehicles. To do that, Ford has to make cars and trucks people
want to buy. That is why another part of the plan will focus on
strengthening the company's brands and product offerings and
eliminating poorly conceived or outdated models.
Ford does not plan to eliminate any brands. As The News
reported in November, Fields took a hard look at killing the
Mercury brand. However, that study concluded that Mercury brings
in more money than would be saved by eliminating it. Instead, the
company will try to re-energize Mercury by giving the brand new
product designed to appeal to women and more youthful buyers.
Ford is also looking at ways to make its core Blue Oval
brand more appealing to younger buyers.
Though the "Way Forward" plan is focused on saving
the company's struggling North American automotive operations,
executives will also discuss a new Asia strategy that will
strengthen Ford's focus in the fast-growing Chinese market.
While all of these aspects of the plan will be harder to
quantify and take more time to realize, analysts say they are no
less important to the long-term success of the company.
"The revenue side is just as important as the cost
side," said Rob Hinchliffe, an analyst with UBS Securities
LLC in New York.
If Ford were any other company and Bill Ford were any other
CEO, Wall Street might have written them off by now. But Ford is
unlike any other company.
Founded in 1903 by a man whose name became synonymous with
industrial progress and innovation, Ford Motor Co. may not have
invented the automobile, but did give it to the masses. In the
early years of the 20th century, Henry Ford and the company that
bore his name transformed the car from a luxury that few could
afford to a commodity that no one could do without. In the
process, they helped transform America itself from a minor power
to the industrial empire it is today.
Though publicly traded, the Ford family retains controlling
interest in the company through their ownership of restricted
shares. The Ford family used this power to put Henry Ford's
great-grandson in charge.
When Bill Ford took over as CEO in 2001, the company was
barreling down the road to financial ruin. Ford had just posted
its first consecutive quarterly losses in nearly a decade and was
reeling from the Firestone tire scandal. There was growing concern
about quality issues and product delays, and Ford's credit rating
was falling fast.
When Bill Ford ousted controversial CEO Jacques Nasser and
took control of the company, some employees wept openly at the
sight of Henry Ford's scion striding into the Glass House to set
things right. Almost four years ago to the day, Bill Ford
announced a massive restructuring plan that called for 20,000 job
cuts in North America, several plant closures and the elimination
of vehicles like the Mercury Cougar. He promised not only a return
to profitability, but also a boost in annual pretax profits of $7
billion by 2006.
That seemed like a big stretch, considering that Ford Motor
Co. ended 2001 with a loss of nearly $5.5 billion. But Bill Ford's
fix-it plan narrowed that loss to $980 million in 2002 and
restored the company to profitability in 2003. Ford ended 2004
with earnings of $3.5 billion.
But the spreading insurgency in Iraq was pushing gasoline
prices higher and higher, and the buying public's love affair with
high-margin sport utility vehicles that had done so much to boost
Ford's profits was quickly coming to an end. Even before Hurricane
Katrina showed Americans just how painful the pump could become,
SUV sales were falling fast, forcing Ford to idle more and more
workers and igniting a rebate war with rival automakers that
further eroded its profits.
"The plan -- even now, looking with hindsight -- was
the right one," Bill Ford said. "We are profitable
again. We have been profitable every year through the plan, which
wasn't true in '01 when the wheels fell off and we lost a lot of
money as a corporation. So a lot of what we put into place was
Some analysts agree.
"Generally speaking, Bill's done a good job. The last
restructuring was pretty much hitting all its milestones for the
first 75 percent of its life," said Craig Hutson, an analyst
at Gimme Credit, a corporate bond research company. "They've
done many of the things they said they were going to do, but there
were a lot of things outside their control."
Others in the financial community are more critical of Bill
Ford's performance as CEO, pointing out that his efforts have done
little to help the foundering North American automobile business.
"(Wall Street) gives people credit for results, and the
results were not acceptable," said Rod Lache, who follows for
Deutsche Bank Securities Inc. in New York. "I cannot say
kudos for anything."
But even Bill Ford's critics are willing to give him at
least one more chance to turn the company around.
What Wall Street wants
"He's the right man for the job," said Bradley
Rubin, vice president of credit research at BNP Paribas Securities
Corp. in New York. "But he's made some big mistakes."
Chief among them, Rubin said, was his decision to bail out
Ford's former parts division, Visteon Corp. The agreement Ford
inked with Visteon last year required the automaker to keep some
18,000 UAW members leased to Visteon on its payroll. Rubin said
that shows a reluctance to make the sort of deep, painful cuts
that will be necessary to restore Ford's North American operations
Rubin's concern is shared by others on Wall Street. Two of
the nation's leading credit rating firms -- Standard & Poor's
Ratings Service and Moody's Investors Service -- lowered Ford's
credit rating deeper into junk bond territory this month, despite
the promise of a comprehensive corporate restructuring.
"The company's financial and competitive position will
remain under considerable stress through 2007," Moody's said
in a statement explaining its decision.
Most analysts want Ford to provide a detailed timeline
Monday, one that includes clear and quantifiable benchmarks by
which they can gauge the plan's success.
"If that's not part of it, we'll be pretty
disappointed," Hutson said.
And, while analysts recognize it will take some time for
many of the plan's elements to be realized, Wall Street wants to
see some tangible improvements by the end of the year -- at the
"I don't think the market is going to be thrilled by a
five-year plan," Lache said. "People are going to want
to see targets both near term and long term -- and long term means
Fields, the man tapped by Bill Ford to fix the automaker,
acknowledged Ford is on the clock. "The clock's
ticking," he said.
"Obviously, given the competitive situation, we can't
You can reach Bryce Hoffman at (313) 222-2443 or email@example.com.
850 Workers Face Bleak Future
Stop & Shop Closing North Haven Facility; Employees Doubt
They'll Find Comparable Jobs
January 24, 2006
By JOHN M. MORAN And KENNETH R. GOSSELIN,
Courant Staff Writers
The hundreds of union workers who will lose their jobs
when Stop & Shop Supermarket Co.
shuts its North Haven warehouse may face difficulty
finding comparable employment elsewhere, workers and experts
Stop & Shop, based in Quincy, Mass., said Monday it
plans to close the North Haven warehouse and distribution
facility, which it has operated since 1962, by the middle of
this year. About 850 employees, including about 700 union
workers, are expected to be laid off as a result.
Alain Levesque, a 40-year-old truck driver from Meriden,
said he might be able to equal his $20-an-hour wage if he
went back to working a construction job. But his best option
- home improvement - does not offer the medical or
retirement benefits written into his union contract.
Levesque estimates that the value of those benefits boosts
his hourly wages to at least $36. "There's no one
that's going to offer that," he said.
John Auman, 25, of West Haven, said he has worked at the
distribution center since he graduated from high school and
may now go back to technical school for training as an
electrician or in another trade.
Until then, Auman, who makes $16 an hour, said he
probably would have to take two jobs to come close to
matching his pay at the distribution center, where he loads
food on pallets for shipping. Working at a gas station would
be a possibility, he said.
"Whoever says, `You're hired,'" Auman said.
Stop & Shop could offer no immediate estimate of union
wages, but interviews with workers suggested they generally
range from $13 to $20 an hour.
Nicholas Perna, economic adviser to Webster Financial Corp.,
said skilled workers should be able to find new jobs
quickly, but it could still be difficult for them to match
their current pay and fringe benefits.
"It's always a problem for people who lose decent jobs
with good benefits to replace them right away," Perna
said. "It's a tough environment to lose a good job
Not only are pay and benefits hard to replace, but union
workers may also lose seniority rights and be forced into
longer commutes when landing new work, he said.
Stop & Shop Chief Executive Marc Smith said in a
prepared statement that the closing was necessary to help
the company remain competitive. Work currently done in North
Haven will be moved to a Stop & Shop warehouse in
Freetown, Mass., near Fall River, or turned over to
third-party suppliers, he said.
"We believe that these changes will generate the
efficiencies we need to compete in these markets and to
deliver value to our customers," Smith said.
A company spokeswoman said the Freetown warehouse, built
within the last two years, is a much more modern facility
than the North Haven warehouse. The North Haven site also
offers very little room for future expansion, she said.
Word of the Stop & Shop cutbacks came after last week's
announcement that U.S. Repeating Arms Co. plans to close the
nearby Winchester firearms plant by March 31, costing about
200 jobs, most of them held by union workers. The twin
closings would put more than 1,000 in Greater New Haven out
of work by about June 1.
Kevin J. Kopetz, first selectman of North Haven, said news
of the Stop & Shop warehouse closing was a blow to
employees and the community.
"The concern obviously is for the employees and for
their jobs and the fact that they also help to support the
businesses in the immediate area of the company,"
Kopetz said. "A closing like this has a ripple effect
on the local economy."
Stop & Shop is a subsidiary of the Dutch retailer Ahold,
which also owns the Giant supermarket chain. With 14,715
employees in Connecticut, Stop & Shop is second only to
Hartford-based United Technologies Corp. among the state's
largest private employers.
Teamsters Union Local 443, which represents Stop &
Shop warehouse workers, had no immediate comment on the
closing announcement or what is being done to assist union
It was not immediately clear Monday how long the North Haven
site may sit idle after Stop & Shop closes the massive,
The warehouse and another in Landover, Md., were purchased
Friday for about $90 million by Preferred Real Estate
Investments Inc., a private developer of commercial and
industrial properties based in Conshohocken, Pa.
Charles Houder, director of acquisitions for Preferred Real
Estate, said Stop & Shop has a five-year lease for the
warehouse, with options to terminate the lease early. He
said Preferred is ready to move quickly to market the
property to other businesses that might need a warehouse and
"One of our views on Connecticut is that it's got
geography that is hard to argue with," Houder said.
"From a distribution point of view, you're within a
day's drive of 40 percent of the U.S. population. We just
believed in the location."
In a separate transaction, Preferred Real Estate recently
purchased a large distribution center in Cheshire.
Stop & Shop said it is planning to offer workers a
severance package along with retraining and job counseling.
Workers would also be eligible to apply for an undetermined
number of positions that will be created at the Freetown
warehouse. Jobs also may be available at Stop & Shop
supermarkets in the area, the company said.
Workers were told of the closing in a 7:30 a.m. meeting in
the distribution center's cafeteria. Some employees were
called in on their day off. Some drivers learned the news
while they were on the road making deliveries.
Clayton Jones, 30, who supports a wife and three children
with his wages from the Stop & Shop warehouse, said even
if he were offered a job in Freetown, he didn't know if he
would be able to take it. He estimated the commute to
Freetown could be three hours.
"They should have told us that our jobs might be in
jeopardy," Jones said. "Now, we've got 60 days to
find something else."
McCormick earnings flat, more job cuts coming
Coming off a difficult 2005, McCormick
& Co. Inc. said it will eliminate up to 1,000 jobs over
the next three years as it restructures operations.
McCormick, based in Sparks, reported 2005 earnings of $215
million, roughly flat from 2004. Earnings per share came to $1.56,
with restructuring charges knocking 5 cents off earnings. The
average estimate of analysts surveyed by Thomson Financial was
$1.60 per share.
Sales for the year rose 3 percent from 2004, reaching $2.6
billion. Favorable foreign exchange rates contributed 1 percent of
For the fourth quarter -- traditionally McCormick's strongest
of the year -- the company earned $88 million, up about 1 percent
from a year ago. Fourth-quarter earnings per share were 65 cents.
Analysts' average estimate was 68 cents.
Fourth-quarter sales fell 1 percent to $737 million.
Over the past year, McCormick has battled problems, including
Hurricane Katrina's effect on a New Orleans subsidiary and
struggles in its industrial business. Since the fall, McCormick
has gradually unveiled a restructuring plan calling for job cuts
and plant closings. On Wednesday, McCormick said it would trim its
industrial business to focus on its top customers, and would
overhaul the spices and seasonings that consumers buy -- a move
that surprised some analysts.
"I'm very excited about the changes at McCormick and this
next step in our journey," CEO Robert J. Lawless told
analysts on a Wednesday morning conference call.
McCormick said earlier this month that it would close a
California manufacturing plant, eliminating 400 jobs. It will also
close a Hunt Valley condiment manufacturing plant that employs 80
to 100. Officials have said those employees will be transferred to
McCormick's other local facilities.
On Wednesday, McCormick said it would cut 800 to 1,000 jobs
over the next several years, including the already-announced plant
closures. McCormick will also close a small manufacturing plant in
Belgium, eliminating 40 to 50 jobs. Other facilities around the
world "are being reviewed," officials said, declining to
McCormick employs about 2,300 in Hunt Valley.
The company's industrial business -- which provides flavors and
spices to restaurants and other food industry customers -- has
struggled in the past year. McCormick has said it faces pricing
pressure from discount competitors in France, and customers have
delayed some key product launches.
McCormick will greatly pare down its customer list for that
business, which totals more than 1,000 in the United States alone.
An analysis showed that most of those customers spent less than
$25,000 annually, Lawless told analysts. McCormick will raise
prices and minimum order level requirements for industrial
customers, and will slash the number of products the division
McCormick's consumer business will get a facelift, too. It's
the first major overhaul for the line since the late 1980s,
Lawless said. The number of McCormick products on store shelves
will shrink by about 10 percent -- and their prices will rise by
an average 4 percent. Lawless said he does not think the increase
will hurt sales.
McCormick (NYSE: MKC) expects to earn $1.21 to $1.24 per share
in 2006. That figure includes 42 cents' worth of restructuring
charges and 11 cents' worth of stock option expenses. Analysts'
average earnings per share estimate for the year is $1.73.
For the first quarter, after stock option expense and other
charges, McCormick expects to earn 3 to 5 cents per share.
Analysts' average estimate for the quarter is 28 cents.
McCormick generated $339 million in cash flow from operations
during the year, which it used to buy back stock, increase its
dividend and for other capital expenditures.
Acquisitions have played a key role in McCormick's growth in
recent years, and Lawless said the company will continue to
consider them, most likely in its consumer business.
Many analysts have expressed frustration with a lack of detail
from McCormick about its problems and how it plans to solve them.
Wednesday marked the first time McCormick has "provided the
outside world with a real complete deck (of cards),"
including a slide presentation, Lawless said in a brief telephone
interview Wednesday. Lawless said he was pleased with analysts'
reaction, calling it "solid."
More than 250 to lose jobs
MONTGOMERY TWP. – Spring is the season of renewal‚
but for 259 employees of Macy’s and
Strawbridge’s at Montgomery Mall‚
spring will be the season of ruin.
Macy’s corporate office‚
based in New York‚ announced on Friday
there will be layoffs among associates at Macy’s
As a result of a consolidation between Strawbridge’s
and Macy’s‚ all
Strawbridge’s stores will permanently
The layoff and closing process will begin between March 21
and April 3.
The announcement of the layoffs and closings was made by
Macy’s East Human Resources Group Vice
President William Ives in a letter to Chris Enright‚
rapid response director of the Bureau of Workforce Investment at
the state Labor and Industry Department.
“We currently expect that there
will be a ‘mass layoff’
or ‘plant closing’
as defined by the Federal Worker Adjustment and Retraining
Notification Act at the Strawbridge’s
store located at 500 Montgomery Mall‚
North Wales‚ and the Macy’s
store located at Montgomery Mall‚” the
By law‚ Macy’s
corporate office must issue a federal Worker Adjustment and
Retraining Notification to all employees‚
as well as the county‚ state‚
and city where layoffs occur‚ 60 days
prior to action.
Layoffs and closings will also occur at the Macy’s
and Strawbridge’s at the Willow Grove
Park Mall‚ Springfield Mall and Oxford
Of the 259 employees expected to be laid off at the
Montgomery Mall stores‚ 163 will be from
seasonal and temporary.
Twenty cosmetics sales associates will be laid off‚
and 61 sales associates and selling support associates will be
laid off‚ according to a list
accompanying the letter.
Seven giftwrap associates and packers will be let go‚
as well as three administrative and office associates and two
One associate will be laid off in each of the following
departments: bridal registry‚ shipping
and receiving‚ and merchandise display.
“In terms of seasonal‚
a lot of employees are seasonal help‚ and
we just came off Christmas and the holiday season‚
so it could be that‚” said Elina Kazan‚
Macy’s corporate spokeswoman. “I
don’t know the employee structure (at the
stores) and it would take a lot of time to find out.”
None of the employees being laid off will have the right to
assume another position in an equal or lower classification within
the same department‚ known as “bumping
Employees are also not represented by a union or labor
Kazan said the WARN notice allows communities to help with
the placement of people from the stores that were divested.
“We are taking people from both
stores‚ and we will retain many of them‚
find jobs for them‚ and put the best of
both together to create a better Macy’s‚”
Managers of Macy’s and Strawbridge’s
at Montgomery Mall and the manager of Montgomery Mall were not
available for comment Friday.
Cosmetics and seasonal employees at Macy’s
and Strawbridge’s were contacted for
comment‚ but remained tight-lipped on the
Attempts to reach John Powell‚
president of Kravco-Simon‚ the owner of
Montgomery Mall‚ were unsuccessful.
The stores at Springfield Mall face
the largest number of layoffs – 444.
Of that number‚ 267 are in seasonal
and temporary‚ 141 are in sales‚
and 20 are in cosmetics.
At the Oxford Valley Mall stores 283 people will be laid off‚
with 184 being let go from seasonal.
At the Willow Grove Park mall‚ 302
people will be laid off from Macy’s and
with 173 being let go from seasonal.
Federated Department Stores Inc.‚
which owned Macy’s‚
and The May Department Stores Co.‚ which
merged in 2005.
Ford Says New
Plan Goes Beyond Job Cuts
Ford Chairman and CEO, Bill Ford listens to a reporter's
question during a question and answer session in Dearborn, Mich.,
Monday, Jan. 23, 2006. The automaker will cut 25,000 to 30,000
jobs and idle 14 facilities as part of a restructuring designed to
reverse billion-dollar losses in North America. The cuts represent
20 percent to 25 percent of Ford's North American work force of
122,000 people. Ford has approximately 87,000 hourly workers and
35,000 salaried workers in the region. (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio)
CARLOS OSORIO: AP
© 2006 The Associated Press
DEARBORN, Mich. — Ford Motor Co. says
its new restructuring plan goes beyond job cuts and plant closings
in its effort to restore North American profits. The nation's
second-largest automaker also will try to reinvigorate its
domestic brands as part of the turnaround.
Shortly after Ford announced its plan
Monday to cut up to 30,000 jobs and close 14 plants by 2012, Ford
Americas President Mark Fields stood between two clay models of
concept vehicles _ the Ford Fairlane crossover and Ford Reflex
diesel-hybrid coupe _ to show that the company isn't afraid to
head in new directions.
Fields said that at the beginning of the
company's internal deliberations on its restructuring plan, he
questioned whether all three domestic brands _ Ford, Lincoln and
Mercury _ should continue. He decided the company was stronger
with all three, but only if they appeal to different customers.
He said the company hasn't adequately
differentiated its brands in terms of design and amenities.
Fields said the Ford brand is
"defined by three words: bold, American and innovative."
Mercury, meanwhile, is a brand that appeals more to women and to
younger customers with "modern, expressive design."
Lincoln is about a distinctly American approach to luxury, he
Ford also owns the luxury brands Jaguar,
Volvo, Land Rover and Aston Martin, and it has a 33 percent stake
in Mazda Motor Co. Those brands weren't on the table.
It's a different tactic than some of
Ford's rivals have taken. General Motors Corp. ended production of
its struggling Oldsmobile line in 2004, while DaimlerChrysler AG's
Chrysler Group killed its Plymouth brand in 2001. In both cases,
the brands were having trouble capturing customers because they
couldn't set themselves apart from the automakers' other
In a statement, United Auto Workers
President Ron Gettelfinger and Vice President Gerald Bantom
expressed disappointment over the plan, which they said leaves
"a cloud hanging over the entire work force because of
pending future announcements of additional facilities to be closed
at some point in the future."
The study team for Ford's brands came
only two weeks after Fields assumed his job in October. The team's
assessment became the basis for the entire restructuring.
"It sets up everything in the
business. If you don't understand who you are, you can't expect
your customers to understand you," Fields told The Associated
Press in an interview Monday.
Ford shares rose 5 percent to $8.32 on
Monday's news, indicating some investors were pleased with the
long-awaited "Way Forward" plan as well as the company's
larger-than-expected $124 million overall profit in the fourth
Ford said the plan will restore
profitability by 2008. Some analysts said the plan was thin on
details, leaving them uncertain if it would boost Ford profits as
the company struggles with aggressive competition, higher gasoline
prices, rising costs for labor and raw materials and a junk credit
rating. Ford named only five of the plants it plans to close.
The cuts represent up to 25 percent of
Ford's North American work force of 122,000 people. Ford has
approximately 87,000 hourly workers and 35,000 salaried workers.
In addition, Ford plans to cut 12 percent of its corporate
officers in the next two months.
Ford's St. Louis plant will be the first
plant idled, in the first quarter of this year. A plant near
Atlanta will close at the end of this year and a plant in Wixom,
Mich., will close in the second quarter of 2007.
Other plants to be idled and eventually
closed through 2008 are Batavia Transmission in Ohio and Windsor
Casting in Ontario. Later this year, Ford will choose two more
plants to be idled. The company also will reduce production to one
shift at its St. Thomas assembly plant in Ontario. All the plant
closings and job cuts are scheduled to be completed by 2012.
In addition to the facilities named
Monday, analysts also have predicted assembly plants in St. Paul,
Minn., and Cuatitlan, Mexico could be at risk for closure because
of the products they make.
Ford also plans to build one plant in
North America, but Fields wouldn't say where.
Under the company's existing contract
with the UAW, workers at the idled plants will continue to get
most of their pay and benefits until a new contract is negotiated
Fields said half the jobs Ford is
cutting will be through attrition, while the rest will be through
layoffs. He said the company plans to help workers using buyouts
and possible placement in other plants.
Ford and its larger rival, General
Motors Corp., have been hurt by falling sales of profitable sport
utility vehicles, growing health care and materials costs and
restrictive labor contracts. GM announced a similar restructuring
plan in November that will shave its work force by 30,000 and
close 12 North American facilities.
Ford also has seen its U.S. market share
slide as a result of increasing competition as Asian competitors
sell more and more cars. The company suffered its tenth straight
year of market share losses in the United States in 2005, and for
the first time in 19 years, Ford lost its crown as America's
best-selling brand to GM's Chevrolet.
Earlier Monday, Ford reported earnings
of $2 billion in 2005, down 42 percent from last year's profit of
$3.5 billion. It was the third straight year the automaker has
reported a profit, but gains in Europe, Asia and elsewhere were
offset by a loss of $1.6 billion in North American operations.
Ford Chief Financial Officer Don LeClair
said employee buyouts and other elements of the restructuring plan
could cost the automaker around $500 million this year.
The restructuring is Ford's second in
four years. Under the first plan, Ford closed five plants and cut
35,000 jobs, but its North American operations failed to turn
Associated Press Writers Tom Krisher in
Wixom and Sarah Karush in Detroit contributed to this report.
On the Net: Ford Motor Co.: http://www.ford.com
|Kraft Foods Will Cut 8,000 More
Jobs, Close 20 Plants
Jan. 30, 2006 (Bloomberg) -- Kraft Foods Inc., the
largest U.S. food maker, will eliminate 8,000 jobs and 20
additional plants after commodity costs soared and the company
failed to boost sales volume last year. The initiatives will
cost $2.5 billion pretax.
The plans, an expansion of a restructuring that began
three years ago, will save $700 million pretax and eliminate
about 8 percent of the workforce, Northfield, Illinois-based
Kraft said in a statement today. The changes were announced as
Kraft reported fourth- quarter net income rose 23 percent on a
sales gain of 10 percent.
The company said today raw materials costs increased
$800 million last year over 2004 and sales volume was
``essentially flat'' even after price increases. The job cuts
and plant closures will occur through 2008 and bring total
restructuring expenses to $3.7 billion under Chief Executive
Officer Roger Deromedi, who earlier cut 20 factories and 6,000
``As we look at the 2006 environment, we see it
continuing to be challenging,'' Deromedi said in an interview
today. ``We wanted to move aggressively to deal with that
Kraft today reported net income rose to $773 million, or
46 cents a share, from $628 million, or 37 cents, a year
earlier. Sales rose to $9.66 billion.
The company said it earned 56 cents excluding 10 cents
in restructuring charges, three cents higher than the average
estimate of 16 analysts surveyed by Thomson Financial.
Shares of Kraft, whose brands include Kool-Aid
beverages, Grey Poupon mustard and Honeycomb cereal, rose 95
cents to $30.95 at 4:17 p.m. in trading after the close of
U.S. stock markets. The stock rose 72 cents to $30.01 at 4:01
p.m. in New York Stock Exchange composite trading. Kraft,
which released results after regular trading ended, shares
declined 21 percent last year.
Credit Suisse analyst David Nelson estimated Kraft
earned 55 cents a share excluding costs to close factories.
The Chicago-based analyst is top-ranked by Starmine
Professional Service. The average estimate of 16 analysts
surveyed by Thomson Financial was 53 cents. Thomson declined
to disclose the parameters of the estimates in its survey.
Kraft said today it expects to earn $1.38 to $1.43 a
share in 2006, including 50 cents in restructuring charges.
The company said it expects pretax restructuring and
impairment costs of $1.3 billion this year, or about 50 cents
a share. Most of the company's earnings growth will occur in
the second half of the year as the first half will be hurt by
higher costs, Kraft said.
An increase in restructuring costs to $3.7 billion from
$1.2 billion estimated in 2004 ``calls into question future
earnings quality,'' Nelson of Credit Suisse wrote today.
``It's an ongoing process of sizing their business
that's not growing that fast,'' said Daniel Popowics, an
analyst at Cincinnati-based Fifth Third Asset Management, with
$21.5 billion in assets including about 122,600 Kraft shares
on Sept. 30. ``That's a lot of jobs and a lot of plants.''
An extra week last quarter accounted for 7 percentage
points of Kraft's 10 percent increase in sales. Growth was
stronger in the U.S. than internationally, rising 4 percent
excluding the extra week to $6.4 billion on higher prices and
demand for Starbucks and Seattle's Best coffee, meats and Post
cereals. U.S. profit dropped 3.4 percent to $915 million, hurt
by higher restructuring and commodity costs.
Kraft's international unit generated $3.2 billion in
revenue, which excluding the additional week was 1 percent
higher than a year earlier. Profit at the unit increased 10
percent to $330 million, helped by lower restructuring charges
and increased shipments of Philadelphia cream cheese in Italy
and Jacobs coffee in Russia and Ukraine.
Kraft said Dec. 27 the planned sale of several Canadian
grocery brands including Primo pasta to buyout firms Sun
Capital Partners Inc. and EG Capital Group LLC resulted in a
fourth- quarter charge of about 5 cents a share.
Kraft reduced the price of Maxwell House coffee by 5
percent last summer, after increasing the price by 12 percent
in the spring, company spokeswoman Kris Charles said in
October. It raised prices for Oscar Mayer ham and beef deli
meats in the first half of 2005 to cover higher costs.
Kraft's coffee-price reduction followed Procter &
Gamble Co., the largest U.S. consumer-products company, which
lowered the price of top-selling brand Folgers by 5 percent
after the cost of raw beans declined.
Deromedi, 52, sold four businesses last year, including
the Life Savers and Altoids candy brands to Wm. Wrigley Jr.
Co., as Kraft sheds slower-growing lines and shifts spending
to new, healthier foods. He's also spending more to market its
biggest global brands of cheese, Nabisco cookies and crackers,
Maxwell House coffee and beverages such as Kool-Aid.
Deromedi is preparing for a possible spin off of Kraft
by New York-based Altria. Chief Executive Louis Camilleri said
in November that the company's food, U.S. tobacco and
international tobacco units would be worth more if operated
Altria, which owns Philip Morris USA and Philip Morris
International, is expected to report tomorrow that per-share
net income rose 24 percent to $1.17, according to the average
estimate of 11 analysts surveyed by Thomson.
Sales excluding tobacco excise takes were expected to
increase 6 percent to $17.4 billion, helped by acquisitions in
Indonesia and Colombia.
Of the 18 analysts tracked by Bloomberg, four rate Kraft
shares ``buy,'' 12 say ``hold'' and two say ``sell.'' Profit
has exceeded analysts' expectations two of the prior four
To contact the reporter on this story:
Chris Burritt in Greensboro, North Carolina at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Last Updated: January 30, 2006
Local Leaders Paint Positive Picture Of
POSTED: 4:06 pm EST January 24, 2006
WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. -- Triad leaders are taking the pulse of
the local economy and say it's good.
Despite recent plant closings and layoffs in the
Piedmont and southwest Virginia, area officials said better
times are around the corner.
"We expect slow, steady growth over the next
year," said Gayle Anderson of the Winston-Salem Chamber
In recent weeks and months, plants in Surry,
Rockingham, Forsyth, Guilford, Alamance and Davidson
counties, as well as Galax, Va., have announced closings
But Dell's new plant near Kernersville is a symbol of
what economy watchers say will be a resurgence of jobs in
higher technology fields as more and more workers retrain
and re-enter the job market.
"I have a pretty optimistic view of where we're
heading," said Jim Decriston of the North Carolina
School of the Arts.
Financial analyst John Manley said the economy is
poised to grow in 2006, in part because of the layoffs that
have helped keep labor costs and, thus, inflation at bay.
Copyright 2006 by WXII12.com.
All rights reserved.
Puts AIBO Robot Dog To Sleep
Sony Corp. has officially euthanized the Sony AIBO
entertainment robot and stopped development on its QRIO
humanoid robot, the company said today.
The "announcement" was slipped into Sony's
2005 third-quarter earnings report, which also detailed a
number of plant closings and a refocusing to core businesses
like entertainment, pictures and music
According to the report,
development had already ceased in mid-to-late 2005 and
production ended late last year. "However, sales and
support will continue," the report said. "There
will also be no new development for QRIO."
While the news stunned many robot enthusiasts, the
writing seemed to be on the wall. While the company
software and memory capabilities each year, the last major
overhaul was almost two years ago; by raising the price
every year, Sony appeared to be daring the US market to
ignore it. The success stories of WowWee's
also served to highlight the price chasm between them and
AIBO's $2,000 robot and their sub-$300 and sub-$200
offerings, although AIBO was always the more powerful robot
with more motors, flexibility and artificial intelligence.
Some industry watchers expected the success of these
consumer robots to prick up Sony's ears and perhaps
encourage the company to roll out more frequent updates and,
perhaps lower prices. Instead, Sony slowed down the pace of
development and had been mum for months and what AIBO might
Interestingly, while the QRIO and AIBO may be no more,
their "minds" will live on. Sony plans on
continuing the robotics AI research begun for these products
and will implement it "in a broad range of consumer
Southern Comfort: Not That One, but the Truck and Van
Date posted: 01-27-2006
TRUSSVILLE, Ala. — Comfort Conversions'
purchase of Centurion Vehicles/Starcraft Conversions has
turned it into a major player and the most important large
vehicle customizer in the United States, with projected
annual sales of $80 million.
The company, with the colorful name of Southern Comfort,
is expected to gain 80 new jobs at its Alabama facilities as
part of the acquisition. Centurion/Starcraft will be closing
its operation in White Pigeon, Michigan. The Starcraft and
Centurion names will be retained on some vehicles, though.
The company is expected to move to a new location in Alabama
to be determined by this summer.
What this means to you: The expansion of Southern Comfort
further solidifies Alabama's growing reputation as an
American automotive hub, especially in light of recent plant
closings up North.
|Chip maker to shut
Bay Area plant
Materials Inc., the world's largest maker of
semiconductor-manufacturing equipment, will close
five plants and offices at a cost of $212 million,
including one in Hayward.
Properties in Oregon, Massachusetts, South
Korea and Japan also will be affected, the Santa
Clara-based company said in a statement Friday. The
cost will be taken against earnings for the current
quarter, which ends Sunday.
Most of the "couple hundred" workers
affected will be transferred, spokesman Dave Miller
said in an interview. Applied Materials is looking
to trim costs after profit and sales fell in its
fiscal fourth quarter as chipmakers cut back on
expansion plans. Chief Executive Officer Mike
Splinter said in a Wednesday interview that he's
"more positive" about prospects this year.
The properties to be sold were "acquired
either as part of a merger or under business
conditions that have changed," the company said
in the statement. Applied Materials will spend $122
million to write off the assets and $90 million to
change lease obligations. Annual savings from the
closings are expected to be $29 million through
Properties to be shut are in Hayward;
Goodyear raw materials costs higher than expected
Mon Jan 30, 2006 6:01 PM ET
CHICAGO, Jan 30 , 2006 (Reuters) - Goodyear Tire & Rubber
Co. on Monday said fourth-quarter raw materials costs were higher
than expected, but operating income for its business segments should
be fairly steady, excluding the impact from U.S. hurricanes.
Goodyear (GT.N: Quote,
whose shares fell more than 9 percent in extended hours trading on
the Inet electronic brokerage, said raw materials costs rose 13
percent in the quarter. The stock had reached a 3-1/2-year high.
The rising cost of materials and currency fluctuations remain
challenges, said Goodyear, the largest U.S. tire maker. In
September, Goodyear said it planned three
years of plant closings and asset sales to cut back on
Akron, Ohio-based Goodyear expects fourth-quarter segment
operating income to be about the same as the $238 million reported a
year earlier, excluding the hurricanes.
Goodyear expects sales of more than $4.9 billion in the fourth
quarter, while analysts on average expect $5.09 billion, according
to Reuters Estimates. Goodyear adjusted production to reduce
inventories, particularly in Europe and Latin America.
For 2005, Goodyear expects record sales of nearly $20 billion,
while analysts expect $19.88 billion. The company also expects 2005
segment operating income to be up 20 percent to 25 percent from
2004, when it reported $945.5 million.
Goodyear will report fourth-quarter results Feb. 16.
Goodyear shares were trading at $17 on Inet, down from a close
of $18.76 on the New York Stock Exchange.
|GM to Offer Buyout Deal to More Than 125,000
By Micheline Maynard and Jeremy W. Peters
The New York Times
Wednesday 22 March 2006
Detroit - General Motors, the United
Automobile Workers and the Delphi Corporation reached a historic
agreement today that would offer incentives of up to $140,000 to
more than 125,000 workers at the two companies if they agree to
leave their jobs.
The company did not estimate how many
GM, the nation's largest automaker,
said all 113,000 of its hourly workers in the United States would be
offered packages to retire or leave. Workers who have reached
retirement age would be offered $35,000 in cash to give up their
jobs immediately. Meanwhile, workers with 10 years' experience who
would not be eligible to retire can leave and receive payment of
$140,000 and a pension, but would have to forgo health care
coverage, according to an outline of the program posted on the UAW's
Delphi, the country's biggest parts
supplier, said it would offer payments of $35,000 to 13,000 of its
34,000 workers in the United States who opt to depart.
Workers are not under any obligation
to accept the deals, and executives and union officials have been
concerned that some could wait for sweetened offers.
But Robert Betts, president of the UAW
local at the Delphi plant in Coopersville, Mich., said the offers
were attractive. "If someone is going to give you $35,000 to
take your pension, that's good," Mr. Betts said. "I think
a whole lot of people are going to hit the road over this."
The deal, which requires bankruptcy
court approval, did not remove the threat of a strike at Delphi,
which is operating under bankruptcy protection. In a statement,
Delphi said it wanted to reach a broad agreement with the UAW on
sharply lower wages and benefits by March 31.
Otherwise, it said it would ask a
judge for permission to impose less-generous terms - a move that
could trigger a walkout, which in turn would cripple GM.
GM will pay the brunt of the cost,
expected to be billions of dollars, another burden for the suffering
auto giant, which lost more than $10 billion in 2005 as its market
share in the United States fell to its lowest since 1935.
Negotiations have been going on for
months between the union, GM and Delphi, the parts supplier that was
part of GM until 1999. Delphi filed for bankruptcy protection last
GM was involved because thousands of
workers at Delphi, which remains GM's biggest supplier, have the
right to return to the company. GM is liable for pensions and
post-retirement benefits for those who worked for it before the
In a statement, GM's chief executive,
Rick Wagoner, said the move was an important step in GM's
restructuring and that GM was "pleased" by the agreement.
The UAW in a statement said that the
agreement "required an inordinate amount of time and patience
due to the complexities posed by Delphi's bankruptcy filing."
A GM spokeswoman, Katie McBride, said
that about 36,000 GM workers were eligible to retire with full
pension and benefits. An additional 27,000 workers are within a few
years of retirement, and are being offered a special program that
will them up to $2,800 a month on top of their regular pay, if they
agree to retire once they have put in 30 years at the automaker,
when workers can retire and receive their full retirement benefits.
Delphi, in a statement this morning,
called the agreement a "critical milestone." The workers
offered the cash payments comprise slightly more than half the
24,000 represented by the UAW, if they agree to leave the company.
In all, it has about 34,000 workers in the United States.
Under the UAW's contracts with GM and
Delphi, workers can retire after 30 years on the job. But many stay
longer, because of the $27-an-hour pay and generous benefits that
the union contracts provide.
Delphi said GM had agreed to pay the
cost of the lump-sum payments for its workers, as well as cover the
costs of its own retirements. Further, Delphi said GM had agreed to
accept 5,000 Delphi workers back to the company through September
2007, when the current union contract expires.
It also said GM had agreed to be
responsible for pensions and other post-retirement benefits for
those 5,000 workers.
GM plans to cut 30,000 jobs through
2008, and has begun closing some of the 12 plants where it will
Given that, there are not likely to be
jobs for the Delphi workers when they "flow back" to GM.
Unless they retire, that means some would go into a program called
the Jobs Bank, where workers receive full pay and benefits until the
UAW contract expires next year.
The agreement marks unprecedented
cooperation by the union, which has been put in the position of
convincing its members to give up jobs that the UAW has fought for
decades to protect.
Meanwhile, Delphi said negotiations
would continue on its bid for sharply lower wage and benefit rates
from UAW members.
Union officials said last week that
Delphi would possibly hold off filing its court motion if it reached
an agreement with GM and the UAW on early retirements. But this
morning, Delphi reiterated its intent to seek the court motions.
The deal comes amid difficult times
for GM and its embattled chief executive, Rick Wagoner. Analysts say
GM's credibility was damaged by last week's unexpected disclosure of
improper accounting. Late Thursday, GM increased its loss for 2005
by an additional $2 billion, to $10.6 billion, and delayed filing
its annual report.
The action sparked displeasure among
members of GM's board, including its newest director, Jerome York,
who represents billionaire Kirk Kerkorian, GM's biggest individual
Shares of GM were up 5 cents, to
$22.05, this afternoon.
CA plans layoffs
CA has announced plans to lay off 1,700
staff in response to further disappointing
vendor recorded a net income of $35m for
the first quarter, down from $97m in the
same period in the previous year. The fall
is partly due to revenues not rising as
fast as operating expenses.
While revenue for the first quarter
increased by three percent to $956m, total
expenses grew by nine percent to $905m,
fueled by higher personnel and
professional services costs, said CA.
Responding to the results, chief
executive John Swainson said that the firm
was not satisfied with its existing cost
structure. “We are implementing an expense
reduction plan to improve the company’s
efficiency and competitive position,” he
said. “These are the first steps in a
long-term program to achieve a
best-of-breed cost structure.”
Part of this restructuring will
include cutting 1,700 jobs, about half in
North America, and consolidating global
facilities. CA expects these actions will
save $200m each year once the
restructuring is completed by early 2008 –
although the changes will also cost the
firm $200m to implement.
The latest figures followed
lower-than-expected results for the
previous quarter, which Swainson then
attributed to an increase in sales
expenses and a slow start in bookings for
the period. CA had already laid off
hundreds of staff last year and in 2004.
Meanwhile, in April this year,
former CA chief executive Sanjay Kumar
pleaded guilty to fraud charges relating
to an accounting scandal at CA.
Radio Shack e-layoffs "fast" and "private"
Unhappy Labor Day edition:
Radio Shack, they came via
e-mail. More than 400 workers at the
retailer's Fort Worth, Texas, headquarters got
the 21st-century pink slip last week.
"The work force reduction notification
is currently in progress. Unfortunately your
position is one that has been eliminated," the
e-mails read. A spokeswoman said workers knew
it was coming and e-mail was faster and more
Various reports are saying
Intel has a huge job-cut
announcement coming Tuesday. The chip maker is
searching for efficiencies as it battles
Advanced Micro Devices for
The Oregonian, citing information on an
internal electronic message board, reported
that Intel CEO Paul Otellini will announce the
results of a months-long internal review
Tuesday. Intel has some 17,000 employees in
Oregon involved in design, manufacturing and
marketing, according to the newspaper.
Some sources said the blood-letting
could affect up to 10 percent of Intel's
100,000-person work force. The company has
already let go 2,000 people this summer
through layoffs and divestitures.
More things change ...
latest Windows personal-computer operating
system ... is priced at $200 for the full home
edition and $100 for some upgrades, according
It's from 2001, when
began taking preorders before Microsoft
disclosed prices for the Windows XP operating
Seattle-based Internet retailer has posted
prices, this time for XP's successor, Windows
Vista, again before Microsoft was officially
ready to let the cat out of the bag.
For the record, Amazon's pre-order
prices for XP were spot-on.
Sprint Nextel said two
weeks ago Chief Operating Officer Len Lauer
was leaving the company, his services no
Last week, he was let go again. This
time he was erased from the CTIA Wireless IT &
Entertainment keynote lineup for the September
convention and told he will no longer be the
wireless association's chairman of the board.
Melinda Gates can't get away from
husband Bill, even at the office.
Our sources say crowding at the Eastlake
Avenue headquarters of the Bill &
Melinda Gates Foundation has grown
to the level that Bill has relinquished his
office to make room for more staff as the
charitable group ramps up to give away $3
billion a year.
Or maybe he just wanted to spend more
time with his wife.
"Throughout the building we are
reconfiguring space to make room for more
employees," a foundation spokeswoman said via
Download, a column of news bits,
observations and miscellany, is gathered by
The Seattle Times technology staff. We can be
reached at 206-464-2265 or
Copyright © 2006 The Seattle
Intel Layoffs Could Be Huge
With Intel apparently poised to announce the
latest stage of its restructuring effort,
speculation has centered not on whether the world's
largest chipmaker would be cutting jobs, but on how
"Most people are expecting a
head-count reduction," said Eric Ross, an analyst
with ThinkEquity Partners. The cuts are widely
expected to be in the 10,000 range — about 10
percent of Intel's work force. But Ross expects it
to be higher.
"I think the numbers are going to surprise
people," he said.
In advance of the announcement expected
Tuesday afternoon, shares of Intel gained 8 cents,
to $19.96, in trading on the Nasdaq Stock Market.
It comes amid intense pressure for the Santa
Clara-based company to unload money-losing divisions
and halt Advanced Micro Devices from further
encroaching on its core business of making the
microprocessors that act as the brains of computers.
Intel has been steadily losing profits and
market share. Analysts have criticized the company
for being too bloated and distracted from its focus
of making the chips that power servers, desktop
computers and laptops.
Speculation about massive job cuts has been
rampant since chief executive Paul Otellini
announced in April the company was planning a broad
overhaul targeting money-losing business groups in
every aspect of its operations.
Intel, which had about 103,000 employees
worldwide at the time, vowed to cut $1 billion in
spending and launched a comprehensive review of its
Otellini said the restructuring will be as
expansive as the company's transformation in the
mid-1980s, when it exited a business it helped
create — making dynamic random access memory chips
widely used to store information in computers — to
focus on microprocessors.
That shift prompted one of Intel's largest
rounds of layoffs ever, with the company eliminating
more than 7,000 jobs, about 30 percent of its work
force at the time.
Since then, Intel has avoided large-scale
layoffs. But the dot-com crash did prompt the
elimination of about 11,000 jobs — largely through
attrition and buyouts — in less than two years. Head
count was reduced to about 79,000 in 2002.
Ford to offer 75,000 buyouts, early retirement
Ford Motor Co. plans to offer buyout
and early retirement packages to more than 75,000 of
its employees, a United Auto Workers union official
The union announced the deal in a statement to its
members Thursday, said Chris Kimmons, president of UAW
Local 919 at the Norfolk, Va., assembly plant.
The buybacks are aimed at helping Dearborn,
Mich.-based Ford cut costs as its sales shrink under
fierce competition from more fuel-efficient models
from Asian automakers.
"Once again, our members are stepping up to make hard
choices under difficult circumstances," UAW President
Ron Gettelfinger said in a statement. "Now, it's Ford
Motor Co.'s responsibility to lead this company in a
positive direction — which means using the skills,
experience and dedication to quality that UAW members
demonstrate every day in order to deliver quality
vehicles to customers."
Kimmons said there are eight steps to the packages
offering anywhere from $35,000 to $140,000 to workers
who leave the company, depending on their years of
service and retirement eligibility.
"I think it's a good package," he said. "I think they
worked real hard on it. They've got to do something to
help Ford out of this crisis."
Depending on which plan is chosen, workers may have to
give up health benefits, Kimmons said.
The announcement came as Ford local leaders gathered
in Detroit to discuss the situation at Ford and
potential buyout offers.
At the same time the union was meeting, Ford's board
of directors also was meeting to consider a dramatic
That meeting wrapped up before 1 p.m. Thursday, and
the company issued a statement saying it would
announce details of the restructuring plan at 7 a.m.
The plan is likely to include job cuts and plant
closings to bring Ford's manufacturing capacity in
line with slumping demand for its cars and trucks.
For more on this story, see Friday's Lansing State
Posted: Thursday, 14 September
Layoffs Loom in South Bay
San Jose, Calif. (KCBS)
-- Layoffs are on the horizon for county workers in the South Bay
as the Board of Supervisors grapples with closing more than a $200
million budget deficit.
An estimated 1,000 county positions likely will be affected.
Board of Supervisors Chair Jim Beall said after making $1
billion worth of budget cuts over the past five years, they have
nowhere else to go.
“The county can only take so many torpedoes,” Beall told
KCBS Reporter Mike Colgan. “I think the ship’s going down at this
point and some of the programs we’ve had in terms of prevention,
programs that take care of people in the mental health
departments, drug and alcohol departments are going to be
completely wiped out.”
“We’re not going to have any programs in the schools
anymore, nursing programs. Health programs in the schools is going
to be totally eliminated,” said Beall.
Also on the proposed chopping block is a $6 million program
where students in low-income school districts are provided
free physical exams, immunizations and other healthcare services
from a mobile medical unit.
Copyright 2006, KCBS. All
Layoffs Expected At Centerville
POSTED: 5:40 am CDT September 15, 2006
DES MOINES, Iowa -- More
layoffs are expected to become official Friday in
There are 500 Rubbermaid plant employees who
are expected to be laid off in the downsizing
Starting Friday, the Centerville plant will close
their production side and the distribution end
will follow in mid-October, NewsChannel 8 reported
The company said that its Centerville plant is closing, because
there's more room for expansion at the Kansas facility.
Copyright 2006 by KCCI.com.
All rights reserved
Air America acknowledges some
Staff and agencies
14 September, 2006
by LARRY McSHANE, Associated Press
NEW YORK - Financially strapped Air
America Radio acknowledged Thursday,
after star commentator Al Franken said
publicly that his paycheck had stopped
coming, that it had suffered a small
number of layoffs but insisted there
were no plans for the liberal talk
show network to declare bankruptcy.
Horn, without getting specific,
said there were "a handful of layoffs"
that followed a move of the network‘s
New York outlet from WLIB-AM to WWRL-AM,
a station with a less powerful signal.
The network launched in March 2004.
"Let me say one thing, if we do go
into bankruptcy: I‘ve flown on United
(Airlines)," he said. "They went into
Franken, in a recent interview,
said the network was suffering from "a
cash flow problem."
Horn said no decision was made on
any filing, and that the network was
unsure about the source of the
bankruptcy rumors. Franken said it was
last week when he discovered that his
paychecks had stopped.
The investigation into that case
announces major layoffs
(9/14/2006) By Lauren Maloney
A Kearney plant
is forced to cut dozens of jobs. Managers said
you can blame it on the weather. Coleman
Powermate has laid off employees who work at
their portable generators plant.
The plant manager says between 50 and 100
employees are affected.
It looks like the year's slow hurricane season
had an effect on production.
Last year, the company sent some employees to
the gulf coast with the portable generators.
400 people worked at the plant, but this
year's good weather had already cut production
back to only three days a week.
Bayer CropScience plans layoffs in N.C.,
RALEIGH, N.C. Bayer
layoffs at its U-S
Park and at sites in
cuts are part of a
plan to eliminate
15-hundred jobs by
Bayer A-G, the
German chemical and
drug maker, two
weeks ago announced
a restructuring for
its CropScience unit
to save about 380
(M) million a year.
It includes closing
production sites and
people in North
about 16 percent of
its global work
force in more than
About 450 marketing,
work in R-T-P.
Around 700 work at a
development site in
and a manufacturing
and R-and-D site in
Harley-Davidson's Layoffs in
T'hawk Impacting Local
Posted: 5:45 PM Feb 13, 2007
Last Updated: 9:28 PM Feb 13,
Reporter: Alison Struve
About two-thirds of
Harley-Davidson employees in
Tomahawk are out of a job, but the
layoffs are affecting the entire
Small business owners like
Elaine Steinhafel are concerned as
She's owned the Village Square
Restaurant for 20 years.
She says a lot of her business
usually comes from
Her restaurant caters meals and
delivers dozens of to-go orders to
the plants, so she's expecting a
big hit from the layoffs.
The layoffs are due to nearly
2800 striking union members in
The two Harley-Davidson plants
in Tomahawk produce parts for the
Harley-Davidson and the union
plan to continue contract
California ranks 14th
Tell us 'When will
O.C. homes be
profitable again?' »
February 13, 2007
SoCal big layoffs
That caught your
eye! This is from a
curious data set
tracked by federal job
watchers, who add up
the big layoffs
impacting 50 or more
workers at one joint.
And those job cutbacks
can mean pain to the
In the fourth
quarter in SoCal,
there were 71 major
10,498 workers, vs.
six layoffs with 883
workers in the year
ago period. Thus, you
get the eye-catching
increase of 1,089
percent. Yes, it's not
Just so you know,
this isn't a sign that
the recession is in
full bloom. The fourth
quarter of 2005's 883
was the record low of
the data set, which
dates to 1996. And the
layoff job loss in the
past decade has been
13,419. So despite the
sexy headline, we're
still below average –
though the trend is
clearly in the wrong
For the year, big
SoCal layoffs averaged
9,709, up 129 percent
Posted by Jon Lansner
at February 13, 2007
layoffs in greater
Chicago area highest
14, 2007 9:44 AM CST
BY SHERA BALGOBIN
Medill News Service
Workers in the greater
more major job
cutbacks in the final
three months of 2006
than any other U.S.
according to a report
released Tuesday by
the Bureau of Labor
show 14,916 workers in
the Chicago area lost
their jobs for at
least one month in the
following 91 mass
"I think it’s a
reflection of the fact
that Chicago is the
industrial center of
the U.S. and in the
activity has been
William Hummer, chief
Despite the dismal
ranking, the number
of laid-off workers in
the greater Chicago
area fell 8 percent
from 16,043 laid-off
workers one year ago.
"When our numbers go
down, I think that
speaks to the
diversity of our
economy," said John
Challenger, CEO of
Challenger, Gray and
For the full year, the
greater Chicago area
ranked second among
the nation’s 367
metropolitan areas in
the number of laid-off
workers with 35,757.
Calif. ranked first
“The tri-state metro
area is one of the
statistical areas, so
by definition it’s
going to have some of
the highest numbers,”
said Rich Reinhold of
The area includes the
counties of Cook,
Grundy, Kane, Kendall,
Lake, McHenry and Will
in Illinois; the
counties of Jasper,
Lake, Newton and
Porter in Indiana; and
Kenosha County in
Chrysler to Cut 13,000
Jobs, May Split
AUBURN HILLS, Mich.
(Feb. 14) - In the next
three years, 13,000
Chrysler workers will
lose their jobs under a
announced Wednesday that
eventually may lead to a
The Chrysler unit of the
automaker announced its
long-awaited plan at its
headquarters, saying it
would cut 16 percent of
the U.S. division's work
force, a move it hoped
would return its U.S.
profitability by next
The plan was announced
only hours after
DaimlerChrysler AG, said
it was considering
options with partners"
and that "no option is
being excluded" as it
reported a 40 percent
drop in companywide
profit for the fourth
The plan calls for
closing the company's
Newark, Del., assembly
plant, and reducing
shifts at plants in
Warren, Mich., and St.
Louis. A parts
distribution center near
Cleveland also will be
Under the plan, 11,000
production workers -
9,000 in the U.S. and
2,000 in Canada - will
lose their jobs over the
next three years, and
2,000 salaried jobs also
will be cut - 1,000 this
year and 1,000 in 2008.
The job losses are the
latest in a yearlong
series of devastating
cuts in the ailing
domestic auto industry,
which likely will lose
more than 100,000 jobs
We believe that this
represents a solid plan
to return to
profitability and lay
the groundwork for a
solid future," Chrysler
CEO Tom LaSorda said at
a news conference.
said the company was
looking into "further
strategic options with
partners" for Chrysler.
"In this regard we do
not exclude any option
in order to find the
best solution for both
the Chrysler Group and
Zetsche said in a
Analyst Georg Stuerzer
with UniCredit, when
asked if the wording in
the statement was a sign
that the company was
mulling a spinoff of
Chrysler, said, "the
impression was right.
This is what people are
thinking it could mean."
He added that the
restructuring could be
the first step, likely
followed by a push by
DaimlerChrysler to find
a partner with which to
operate the Chrysler
unit, or even find a
suitable buyer for it.
Bank of America
auto analyst Ron Tadross
said in a note to
DaimlerChrysler "did not
rule out disposing of
said as he
Hershey's Oakdale plant
- MOVING TO
Officials at the Hershey's chocolate plant in Oakdale
announced the facility's closure on Monday.
By Cristina Salerno
THE MODESTO BEE
OAKDALE -- The Hershey Co. announced
Monday it will close its plant here,
putting 575 employees out of work
and ending more than two months of
rumors and speculation.
The chocolate factory will close
in January 2008, said John Souza,
leader of Teamsters Local 386 in
Modesto, which represents Oakdale
Production lines will be phased
out over the next nine months,
starting with Hershey's Kisses and
Kisses with Almonds, which will be
shut down July 1.
Hershey's Miniatures and
Chocolate Syrup are slated to end
production in the fall, Souza said.
Reese's Peanut Butter Cups will be
the last line to leave the Oakdale
plant, which was opened in 1965.
A number of employees broke into
tears when they were told of the
plant closure during an afternoon
staff meeting, said Sal Martinez,
who has worked at the plant for 26
"I was one of the ones who was
expecting it, but there were a lot
of people in denial who took it
really hard," he said. "There were a
lot of people crying. It's shocking.
It is so fast."
Hershey spokesman Kirk Saville
said the Oakdale plant is operating
at less than 40 percent of capacity,
with 575 employees. In the
mid-1990s, the plant employed as
many as 750 workers.
"Hershey's has been an active and
supportive member of the community
in Oakdale for many years. But many
of our plants are operating at less
than half of capacity, and we must
make changes in order to be
competitive," Saville said.
Saville said the company looked
at other alternatives, but none
would bring the plant to an adequate
Hershey is the largest employer
in Oakdale and was a tourist beacon
for many years, until public tours
ended in 2001 in the wake of the
Sept. 11 terrorist attacks and the
increased security that followed.
Souza said the union and company
are working on severance packages
for employees, with details expected
in the next few weeks.
Monday's announcement put to rest
rumors that have been circulating
throughout the Oakdale plant since
Hershey corporate officials
announced in February a drastic
The plan calls for the
elimination of one-third of
Hershey's North American production
lines, and the opening of a new
plant in Monterrey, Mexico.
The Oakdale plant's production
lines will be moved to Mexico and
Hershey's East Coast factories,
Employees have been in a state of
limbo since the February
announcement, often putting off
major life decisions, said Bobbie
Caetano, a longtime Hershey worker.
"There were people who wanted to
buy a house or go on vacation, and
they just didn't know if they should
postpone it," said Caetano, 58, who
had planned to retire last month but
decided to wait until she knew the
Now, Caetano said she's glad she
waited because she may be able to
take a buyout or severance package.
"I'm sad for everyone else. I
wanted to get out anyway. But I'm
sad for the younger people, the
husbands and wives, and the ones who
haven't worked anywhere else," she
said. "I'm sad for the people who
don't know what they are going to
Many employees have been waiting
for so long to hear news either way,
that when the announcement finally
came it was almost a relief,
"Everybody was just waiting so
long and stressed out," he said.
The quick timeline for the
closure came as a surprise to union
representatives and employees, Souza
said. The first production line
scheduled to be eliminated accounts
for as much as 30 percent of the
candy made at the plant, he said.
"We thought we had a little more
time," Souza said. "We had hoped the
shutdown wouldn't occur and we could
Several employees said they
suspected a closure was imminent
because some supervisors have left
the plant in recent weeks to take
jobs at other manufacturing firms,
including E.&J. Gallo Winery in
Hershey didn't hire new people to
fill those positions, workers said,
instead bringing back retirees to
temporarily fill the slots.
Gallo company spokeswoman Susan
Hensley said that "some of our
recent hires do include people with
The company receives hundreds of
job applications each week, she
said, and some of those applications
have been from Hershey workers.
The plant closure is the third
such announcement in a little over a
week. Hershey said last week it
would shutter plants in Pennsylvania
and Connecticut, which together
employ about 500 workers.
The candymaker will also
eliminate 900 of the 3,000 jobs from
three plants in its Pennsylvania
hometown and will close a factory in
Smith Falls, Canada, which employs
Hershey's new plant in Mexico is
expected to handle about 10 percent
of its production volume by 2010.
Hershey Corporation to
Lay Off Hundreds - While
CEOs Rake in Profits
The Hershey Corporation
makes things from
Hershey's kisses to Peanut
Butter Cups. Dispite their
candy image, their
corporation is run by a
CEO that is on the board
of, or President of,
Pillsbury, and is also the
Chairman of the Grocery
Manufacturers of America.
The GMA is a lobby group
that works to expand the
comerical market for
Hershey is set to lay
off hundreds of workers in
the US and move a lot of
it's operations to Mexico.
While thousands are
marching to protest racist
immigration laws and the
affects of NAFTA and
neo-liberal capitalism on
like what Hershey is doing
can perhaps point out to
many workers in the US how
struggles are. If you are
near a Hershey plant, want
to flyer or post this up,
or use it as a starting
point for other action, go
crazy! However, the flyer
is made to be based upon
what is happening near
Modesto, in the small town
of Oakdale CA, so make
changes if you so desire.
To print, simply copy and
paste onto a word
revolutionary zeal -
Modesto Anarcho Crew
Some of the people
Hershey Board of
We live in a truly
sick world, when the CEO
of Hershey’s, Richard
Lenny, who made $6.6
million last year, is now
going to lay off close to
600 people in the small
working town of Oakdale
CA. People spent their
entire lives working in
one place and just like
that, someone that they
have never even met has
completely changed their
lives for the worse.
People across the world
have built up the Hershey
corporation, but of course
it’s the shareholders and
rich bastards who make the
decisions for us. Now the
factory is going to be
moved to Mexico, to take
advantage of cheap labor,
and low working and
It will use up all the
resources and people it
can and then move on to
the next town. To the next
pool of victims and use
them up until there’s
The global economy which
was supposed to raise
everyone standard of
living has instead lowered
it - while at the same
time making the rich
richer and more powerful.
Oakdale was built on
chocolate. From the yearly
festival to the Hershey
museum. But now all that’s
over. All that’s left is
us and them. Let us hold
no illusions towards our
relationship between the
Hershey bosses, their
property, or their
corporation - they are the
Wage slaves everywhere
wait for your response -
be it sabotage, strike, or
simply revenge. Against
their production lines and
time clocks - let’s take
back our lives once and
More information about
Richard Lenny and who he
represents and stands for
(and thus some possible
ideas for action):
Also check out:
For more on some of the
ideas expressed in this
Oakdale Stunned By
Tuesday, May 01, 2007 -
Oakdale, CA -- A
shocking announcement for
Oakdale; the Hershey's
chocolate factory will be
closing its doors next
575 employees will
lose their jobs at the 42
year old facility. They
received word of the
closure Monday afternoon.
Company Spokesman Kirk
Seville made the official
The plant has an
annual payroll of $27
million and it has been
estimated that Hershey's
pumps that same amount
into the local economy.
With a national
is also closing plants in
its home state of
Connecticut. Hershey's has
also announced that it
will be terminating
several of its product
will receive a
weeks' pay for
each year of
service, with a
minimum of eight
weeks and a
maximum of 65,
ANOTHER ONE BITES
the sale of
part of its
for the unit
unit will be
part of GE.
said in an
to people as
and we plan
and grow the
SABIC has a
in the wings
will make a
played a key
Auto Show in
sale of its
for 2007. It
to buy back
plan of $6
create a net
step" in the
sale is the
at the right
time for GE
a good price
company in a
will use the
by e-mail at
Layoffs grow in mortgage industry - over 40,000 layoffs
Subprime lending market is no more, says former Countrywide executive
August 23, 2007
Brian Jurvis of Hazel Park wasn't surprised when he was laid off late last week from Countrywide Financial Corp.'s subprime lending division.
He was among six employees laid off Aug. 16 at Countrywide's Full Spectrum Lending Division in Troy, he said. About 16 people worked there. He went back Tuesday and the office looked abandoned.
"There is no subprime market anymore," said Jurvis, 36. "I knew something was coming down."
Jurvis joined more than 25,000 workers nationwide who have lost jobs in the financial services industry since the beginning of the month -- more than half of them eliminated since Friday. With few exceptions, the cuts are the direct result of woes in the nation's housing market, especially in subprime mortgages created for borrowers with risky credit.
In Michigan, hundreds of jobs have been lost as subprime and wholesale operations have vanished, said Drew Sygit, a certified mortgage and equity planning specialist with the Lending Edge Team at Meadowbrook Mortgage in Bloomfield Hills.
Sygit notes that Franklin Mortgage Funding, a subprime lender in Southfield, laid off 120 people earlier this year, Aegis in Troy let 25 people go three weeks ago, American Home Mortgage laid off 25 employees at its Farmington Hills underwriting operation and Option One in Novi let 30 people go.
"I'm not aware of a subprime lender with offices in Michigan," Sygit said. "A lot of them will not lend in Michigan."
More layoffs are announced daily. On Wednesday, Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc. closed its subprime mortgage business, laying off 1,200 workers at 23 offices; Scottsdale, Ariz.-based 1st National Bank Holding Co. closed its wholesale mortgage unit and cut 541 jobs, and Accredited Home Lenders Holding Co. added 1,600 positions to the heap.
Tuesday night banking giant HSBC said it would close a main financing office and cut 600 jobs.
Since the start of the year, more than 40,000 workers have lost their jobs at mortgage lending institutions, according to recent company layoff announcements and data complied by the global outplacement firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas Inc.
Meanwhile, construction companies have announced nearly 20,000 job cuts this year, while the National Association of Realtors expects membership rolls to decline this year for the first time in a decade.
It's an employment collapse that threatens to rival the massive layoffs in the airline industry that followed the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, when about 100,000 employees lost their jobs.
"It's far from over," said Bart Narter, a senior analyst with Celent, a Boston-based financial research and consulting firm. "The subprime lending collapse will continue to ripple through the financial sector."
For five years, the nation's housing market was booming and mortgage companies grew quickly, at times offering lucrative jobs to people who had little experience.
Jurvis, an account executive at Countrywide, worked in the mortgage business a little more than two years after several years of building and installing elevators around Michigan. He now plans to go back to school to get his teaching certificate.
Contact GRETA GUEST at 313-223-4192 or email@example.com. The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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