Maytag Confirms Cutbacks at Searcy Plant
Jun 14, 2004
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Maytag spokesperson Lynn Dragomier has confirmed that some employees at the company's Searcy, AR, U.S. plant are among the 1,100 that will be fired nationwide.

However, Ms. Dragomier declined to say how many of the local residents will be affected, or to confirm reports that production has been scaled down in Searcy.

"That's proprietary information we don't release to the public," she said.

About 600 people work at the Searcy plant.

Last week, Maytag announced it is cutting 20 percent of its salaried work force and lowered its earnings expectations, citing lower sales and higher material costs.

Of particular concern was continued poor performance by its Hoover vacuum unit. In the first quarter of 2004, Hoover revenues dropped 22 percent and the brand lost market share in both higher-priced vacuum cleaners -- those selling for U.S. $300 or $400 -- and at low-end levels, less than $100.

The layoffs come as Maytag merges the Hoover division with other Maytag operations as part of a new "one company" strategy, according to a company press release.

Under the restructuring plan, the Hoover brand will join the existing business units -- Maytag, Jenn-Air, and Amana -- within a single marketing organization, the statement said.

Ms. Dragomier told the Associated Press that the bulk of the layoffs will occur at Hoover's factory in North Canton, OH, U.S., but some cuts will also be made at company headquarters in Newton, IA, U.S. But after Searcy employees told The Daily Citizen they had been warned of local layoffs, Ms. Dragomier confirmed that some local employees will lose their jobs.

"There will be a few reductions at each of our locations," she said.

The Searcy plant manufactures laundry equipment. In recent months, the company has made use of temporary workers through the Staffmark employment agency. While Ms. Dragomier would neither confirm nor deny that temporary workers have recently been let go, she did say that any change in the temporary workforce was unrelated to the company-wide layoffs. (The Daily Citizen/Associated Press)

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