Published in Breaking News

Whirlpool to issue layoffs as part of cost-cutting measure

BY Friday, February 02, 2018 06:50pm

BENTON HARBOR — Whirlpool Corp. will layoff an undisclosed number of employees at its West Michigan facilities.

The appliance maker “publicly committed” late last year to reduce global fixed costs by $150 million “to better position the company for future growth and profitability,” according to Deborah O’Connor, a spokesperson for Whirlpool (NYSE: WHR).

As a result, the company plans to issue layoffs, although when and where the layoffs will take place has yet to be determined, O’Connor said.

According to a report in the South Bend Tribune, Whirlpool “confirmed” with the paper that layoffs are taking place at the company’s Benton Harbor and St. Joseph campuses.

“We are doing this through a number of actions that touch all of our regions,” O’Connor told MiBiz via email. “Some reduction of jobs is part of those actions and those who are affected have been notified. Where jobs are impacted, we are treating our employees fairly and with respect throughout the process.

“This is a necessary part of positioning our business for the future.”

Whirlpool has not issued a Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification (WARN) Act filing to the Michigan Workforce Development Agency.

The move from Whirlpool comes just days after the company announced it would benefit from President Donald Trump’s 20-percent to 50-percent tariff on washing machine imports, and after it announced it would immediately add 200 jobs at a plant in Ohio.

Whirlpool President and CEO Marc Bitzer said at the time it was “without any doubt a positive catalyst” for the company.

“After nearly a decade of litigation, we are thankful that (the) U.S. government has announced an effective remedy,” Bitzer told industry analysts in a call discussing earnings results. “This decision is a victory for American workers and will enable new manufacturing jobs here in the United States, including the jobs we have announced at our Clyde, Ohio manufacturing plant.”

Bitzer took over as CEO of Whirlpool from Jeff Fettig on Oct. 1, 2017.

According to O’Connor, the company has roughly 4,000 employees and full-time contractors at the Benton Harbor headquarters.

In 2017, Whirlpool generated net sales of $21.3 billion, up 2.6 percent from the prior year.

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