By Mike Stetzer
Another newspaper is reporting layoffs. The Lexington Herald-Leader announced six employees from the advertising sector will be let go.
That's not the paper's only cost-cutting measures.
All employees, with the exception of advertising sales people, will be forced to a take a week of unpaid leave between January and June of 2011.
In more positive news, Stion, a thin film solar panel manufacturer recently announced that they plan to build a factory in Hattiesburg. This move will create 200 direct jobs for the community.
This spring, 79 teachers were laid off in Alabama’s Jefferson County school district. Given that state educators assured teachers that no layoffs would be made thanks to recent federal stimulus money, some were caught very off guard.
Reporting to The Birmingham News, Jefferson County School Superintendent Phil Hammonds stated, “Realizing the stimulus money is there for two years only, we want to be well prepared after those two years are up that we are still in a fiscally sound position. We don't want to make any long-term commitments."
Brown-Forman, the distiller of Jack Daniel’s and Southern Comfort whiskeys and headquartered in Louisville, Kentucky, announced on Monday, April 20 that it would be cutting 250 jobs, mainly in the U.S. and Mexico, and also offer early retirement to certain employees.
Additionally, the company plans to cut merit pay increases and trim spending on travel and meetings in an attempt to save as much as $25 million in the fiscal year 2010. Brown-Forman reports that their sales dipped 11% in last month’s third quarter thanks to the global economic slowdown.
Toyotetsu America, Inc. will lay off 118 of its 730 employees at its Pulaski County, Kentucky plant due to the poor economy. The Commonwealth Journal reported the automobile industry’s decreased production demands have forced the job cuts.
Angus-Palm Industries in Greenville, Tennessee has laid off one-third of its employees. The construction equipment manufacturer told the Tennessee Department of Labor and Workforce Development that it had laid off 181 workers since last August. The Associated Press reported most of those laid off held construction jobs.
In May, Memphis-based International Paper Co. will cut a production shift and two work days to trim its operations staff by one-third. The plant currently runs four shifts, seven days a week, according to Business First. Approximately 58 workers will be laid off. They are hoping to avoid bankruptcy.
The ServiceMaster Company is expected to lay off as many as 200 information technology workers in Memphis, Tennessee this year. According to a report by the Memphis Business Journal, the layoffs could eliminate the company's entire IT department.
Some workers have already been laid off and are being recruited by headhunters, temporary placement agencies and other corporations. Other employees who have been laid off have returned to work at ServiceMaster as contract labor with fewer benefits. Company officials say that the company is considering a number of ways to cut costs and operate more efficiently. ServiceMaster was acquired by private equity firm Clayton, Dubilier & Rice, Inc. in 2007 and has since laid off 300 workers.
Whirlpool Corporation has plans to close its oven and washer manufacturing plants in Oxford, Mississippi and Puebla, Mexico in order to move the production to facilities in Cleveland and Celaya, Mexico, according to the Metal Bulletin Daily Alerts.
The company says that the layoffs and consolidation are necessary in order to remain competitive in the global market. In late April, the company reduced its 2008 outlook due to increased costs for raw materials and oil. Approximately 750 workers in Oxford and 235 in Puebla will be laid off.
Avocent Corporation of Huntsville, Alabama will cut five percent of its staff and lay off 110 workers as part of a restructuring effort, according to the Associated Press Financial Wire. Avocent, a company that advises other companies on how to set up their computer networks, will begin relocating production to lower costs and save $30 million during the remainder of 2008 and 2009.
Jewelry Television will lay off 215 workers according to a report by the Knoxville News Sentinel. The home-shopping network is undergoing restructuring in order to remain competitive and boost profits. The network employs approximately 2,100 workers in Knoxville and Nashville, Tennessee.
Newell Rubbermaid Inc. will lay off almost 200 people at its manufacturing plant in Maryville, Tennessee in order to reduce costs and improve efficiency. Some of the work from the Maryville plant will be moved to another Rubbermaid plant in Ohio. After the layoffs, approximately 400 workers will remain employed at the Maryville plant, according to an Associated Press report.
GlaxoSmithKline, plc has announced that all 236 workers at its pharmaceutical plant in Bristol, Tennessee will be laid off. The layoffs will begin on April 7 and continue until the plant closes on October 31, 2009. GlaxoSmithKline originally announced plans to close the facility in 2006 because of a decline in sales of its signature penicillin drug, Augmentin. The company lost patent protection on the drug in 2003 and because of competition from generic brands sales have decreased by approximately 70 percent.
Chase Bank will phase out its Lexington, Kentucky loan processing center by next summer and lay off 430 people. The decision was based on a persistent slump in new home-equity loans, which are processed at the Lexington center. Chase Bank's processing center in Monroe, Louisiana will absorb most of the Lexington center's workload, but smaller amounts will go to centers in Columbus, Ohio, and Manila, Philippines.
King Pharmaceuticals Inc. of Bristol, Tennessee has announced that it will reduce its work force by 20 percent, because of a recent court ruling against its patent on a blood-pressure drug. The company had 2,800 full-time workers and 6 part-time employees as of February 23, according to its most recent annual report. In September, a U.S. Court of Appeals decision ruled a patent on King's blood-pressure drug was invalid. The company asked the court to reconsider the decision, but has shifted focus to other products in anticipation of the patent loss.
TRW Automotive in Lebanon, Tennessee will lay off 105 workers by the end of this year when it moves its assembly operations to an undisclosed location. TRW has more than 150 automotive parts plants all over North America and the world employing nearly 22,000 people in North America and 43,000 internationally. The Lebanon TRW plant produces steering parts for the automotive industry.
Last week, Wellstone Mills closed down operations and laid off 125 employees in Eufaula, Alabama. The mill is owned by the Wellstone Group, headquartered in Greenville, South Carolina and was originally purchased from TNS Mills, Inc. in 2003. The Wellstone Group also acquired RutterRex, Inc., a manufacturer of military and postal uniforms, in 2006.
WestPoint Home in Valley, Alabama will close its Lanier plant on September 24. Layoff notices are going out to 300 employees. The company is closing its domestic bedding productions facilities and shifting production to other lines in response to decreased sales.
Whirlpool Corp. recently announced the mass layoffs of 730 jobs from two of its plants that manufacture dehumidifiers, air purifiers and cooking ranges in Tennessee. The mass layoffs are part of the company's ongoing comprehensive worldwide plan to "strengthen and extend marketplace position." Whirlpool is the world's largest appliance maker and is currently negotiating a licensing agreement with potential global partners to manufacture, market, and distribute air control products that carry the Whirlpool brand name.
The Louisville-based Presbyterian Church recently announced its plans to lay off seven people in anticipation of a 5 percent budget shortfall next year. The layoffs are the latest in a series of job cuts by the Presbyterian Church - another agency laid off 75 workers from its Louisville headquarters last year. The budget shortfall is correlated to the division over the issue of gay relationships which has resulted in a declined church membership.
The layoffs of 14 county workers were recently conducted by Laurel County leaders. The county judge said the layoffs will be undertaken in response to various expenses outgrowing revenues throughout the county. The layoffs will be made throughout various departments within the county.
Tennessee-based Berkline Corporation in Overton County recently announced the layoffs of 250 employees in its upholstery division at its Livingston plant. Berkline will continue to operate its reclining mechanism division, which employs approximately 140 workers. The Livingston plant manufacturers stand alone recliners which is a segment of the company that has not seen much recent product growth.
The 233 employees who will lose their jobs at Elastic Corporation in Columbiana, Alabama may be eligible for government benefits. The plant, which makes elastic tapes to band undergarments for Fruit of the Loom and Jockey announced that it would shut down operations later in the year. The U.S. Department of Labor provides assistance for anyone let go because of increased imports as long as the department certifies the workers. The certification was issued on February 16 of this year.
In Johnson City, Tennessee, EPIC Technologies will lay off 100 workers. The mass layoff notice was e-mailed to the media on March 21. The layoff already began on March 16th but isn't expected to be completed until July 7th. Company officials at the electronic manufacturing service company did not issue any other information regarding the layoff.
The Demopolis, Alabama Southern Pride Catfish plant will close and transfer operations to its Greensboro plant on March 31. Approximately 174 workers who cut filets and operate machinery will lose their jobs. Lower supplies and higher prices for catfish in Mississippi have hurt the Alabama catfish processors and allowed competition from international processors.
Alcoa announced plans to close its Mt. Vernon, Kentucky Reynolds Food Packaging plastics manufacturing plant. The plant closing will take place by mid-year resulting in a mass layoff of 115 employees. Company officials blamed costs and market demands for their difficult decision.
A mass layoff of 400 workers was announced this week for employees at the Russell Corporation plant in Alexander City, Alabama. Some of the employee layoffs will begin on March 12 and be completed by October 31. The company is closing the cutting and finishing plant in order to better compete with imports from China and the Far East.
Company officials at the Klaussner Furniture plant in Bruce, Mississippi announce the plant will close on April 27. Reduced orders for the company's sofas, love seats and recliners has forced the company to close the plant which will result in 114 workers laid off.
Recreational vehicle manufacturer Fleetwood Travel Trailers laid off 54 employees from its Campbellsville, Kentucky plant. Assembly workers at the plant were hardest hit by the mass layoff. Company spokesperson Heather Everett said the layoffs were due to production demand decreases.
The Elastic Corporation of America plans to lay off 230 employees and close its Columbiana, Alabama plant by the end of this year. The company manufactures elastic tape and medical wrap and sells a good portion of its products in Central America. The company cites pressure to be on site in Central America and lower production costs as the reason for moving production to Honduras.
Boral Bricks based in Atlanta, Georgia will shut down its Macon, Mississippi plant on March 31. The plant closing is a direct result of a slowdown in nationwide brick sales. The plant closing will result in 79 employees losing their jobs.
Whirlpool Corporation, based in Benton Harbor, Michigan just announced Friday it would terminate 370 employees in the Cleveland, Tennessee manufacturing plant. The appliance maker plans to move its production to other plants, including one located in Mexico.
Hurricane Katrina's wake continues as The Isle of Capri in Biloxi, Mississippi announces a mass layoff of 200 employees. Seasonal slowing plus the fact that the U.S. 90 Bridge is still out forced the casino's general manager to terminate employees. The casino will remain open but needs fewer employees for the slower winter months.
Right before Christmas, General Motors announced a mass layoff of 500 temporary employees at the Saturn Plant in Spring Hill, Tennessee. The layoffs come as GM initially eliminates the overnight shift. Next month, the plant located near Nashville will discontinue building the Saturn Vue leading to additional job cuts.
The holidays will be tough this year for 500 people slated for layoff December 4. The employees work at Whirlpool Corporation's Evansville, Tennessee plant. The layoff affects mostly second shift hourly employees but will affect an unknown number of salaried employees too.
Continental Tire North America, Inc. plans to close its Mayfield, Kentucky plant by February. Continental states that 150 hourly and salaried employees will lose their jobs when the plant closes. Higher energy and raw material costs along with other conditions forced the company to lower its production output. In July, Continental laid off 481 jobs when it closed its Charlotte plant.
The Michelin / BFGoodrich tire plant in Opelika, Alabama may lay off up to 40 percent of its labor force by October. The factory currently employs 1,356 people, but plans to eliminate up to 540 jobs over the next few months.