Whirpool Corp. lays off 250 workers in Clyde

CLYDE "It happens." "It's too bad." These are the
Sarah Weber
May 24, 2010

CLYDE

"It happens."

"It's too bad."

These are the clipped words of Whirlpool Corp. workers discussing the layoff of 250 employees announced this week.

Most walked by quickly between shifts Thursday, saying they weren't allowed to talk about how the midnight shift was getting the shaft.

One man said, "I feel bad for the people getting laid off ... In 27 years I've never seen a whole line shut down."

He said he hoped things will turn around at the plant, putting fellow employees back to work soon.

Just last week Whirlpool Corp. officials said the Clyde Division would be spared from a massive nationwide round of job cuts.

That glimmer of hope didn't last long.

This week the corporation informed 250 employees on the midnight shift they would be laid off as of Nov. 30.

Jill Saletta, a spokeswoman for the company, said the layoffs were unrelated to the cuts announced Oct. 28 because they should be temporary until demand picks up.

"Whirlpool has announced layoffs at a number of our manufacturing facilities and it's due to fluctuations in consumer demands," Saletta said. "The layoffs announced by Whirlpool at Clyde and a number of other plants are intended to be temporary in nature, and they are unrelated to the global reduction in force announcement we made last week, which was about job elimination of about 5,000 jobs."

Few people seemed to be surprised by the latest announcement.

Josh Smith, 23, of Fremont said he heard rumors of a layoff at the plant since mid-summer. That's why he wasn't shocked to receive notice he would be out of a job before December.

"I'll just look for something better," said Smith, who has worked in support systems at the washing machine manufacturing facility for about three years. "It's a good excuse for change."

Carlos Mendoza Jr., who retired from Whirlpool in 2000, said he has seen layoffs come and go. With current economic conditions, however, he said losing work will be tough on employees.

"It's going to hurt Clyde as a whole," he said. "That will take away a lot of revenue and taxes. The city is going to be hurting."

City manager Dan Weaver said he also suspected layoffs were coming.

"We had anticipated something was going to happen here in Clyde," he said. "The economy is on a major downturn and people aren't out there buying washing machines."

He said while the situation was unfortunate, 250 jobs was not a huge reduction for the 3,500-employee plant.

"This is not anything new or unusual for Whirlpool," he said, expressing hope that the layoff will be a short-term situation.

AT A GLANCE:

Whirlpool Corp.

119 Birdseye St., Clyde

Employees: 3,500