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Maytag May Slash Hoover Jobs in Ohio
Apr 4, 2005
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Maytag Corp. has announced a tentative plan to slash as many as 378 positions in North Canton, OH, U.S. and close an entire SteamVac production line there.

A Maytag spokeswoman didn't cite figures but confirmed that the company is looking to shift some SteamVac production to its lower-cost, non-union plants in Mexico and Texas. Nothing has been decided, though.

"This is an extremely competitive floor-care industry we're in," said Maytag's Karen Lynn. "...Our competitors don't stand still, and neither do we."

Indeed, Hoover has been on the ropes for years -- long before Maytag eliminated Hoover as a company but kept the brand name. Just 6 months ago, Maytag's chairman and CEO, Ralph Hake, told analysts he wanted to cut Hoover's staff to a "fraction of its size" to make it more profitable.

Many believe Hoover has been suffering because it missed the rising consumer demand for low-priced vacuums and has been playing catch-up since. Global pricing pressures and rising oil and steel costs also have hurt Maytag as a whole.

Now, Maytag is in a position where it must cut costs, Ms. Lynn said. She also said that Maytag is "negotiating" with the local union because it's "good business practice." The company doesn't have to talk, but wants to, she said, because any cuts made in North Canton would be in line with the union contract.

Maytag's union contract allows it to slash the number of Hoover workers to 800 this year. The plant has about 1,100 active employees and 228 on layoff. If the company pushes ahead with its plan, those 228 workers probably wouldn't be recalled and 150 other jobs would be eliminated. That would put the North Canton work force at 950 -- above the minimum required in the contract. (Beacon Journal)

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