Union May Buy Hoover
Mar 1, 2006
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A labor union is interested in purchasing floor care appliances maker Hoover Company from Maytag Corporation—which has said it would be interested in divesting the troubled business.

The International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 1985 represents workers at the Hoover Company plant in North Canton, Ohio, U.S. According to a report in the Beacon Journal, the union hired advisors to help it form a partnership with a "worker friendly" equity firm and make a bid for the business unit.

Local 1985 represents 800 workers in the North Canton vicinity. As recently as 2003 the Hoover plant in North Canton had 1,500 employees, but the number has been reduced as Maytag (Newton, Iowa, U.S.) sought to cut costs by downsizing and relocating some manufacturing. The most recent cuts came in November when the floor cleaning extractor line began shutting down, with manufacturing moving to plants in Juarez, Mexico, and El Paso, Texas, U.S. The Juarez and El Paso plants would be part of the Hoover buyout, according to the Beacon Journal report.

On Feb. 3, 2006, Maytag Chairman and CEO Ralph Hake laid much of the blame for Maytag's fourth-quarter 2005 losses on poor performance by the floor care business. Hake said then that Maytag would consider selling the business.

Maytag is currently awaiting regulatory approval to proceed with a merger with Whirlpool Corporation (Benton Harbor, Michigan, U.S.). Whirlpool said in February that the merger agreement gives it the right to approve of any sale of assets by Maytag, but Whirlpool did not say if it was in favor of or opposed to the sale of the floor care business.

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