Layoffs and Manufacturers and Employment and Manufacturing & Technology

Whirlpool to cut 1,100 jobs, close Indiana plant

August 28, 2009

Whirlpool Corp. said today that it will cut 1,100 jobs by closing a refrigerator factory in Evansville.

The jobs will be eliminated in mid-2010.

The Benton Harbor, Mich.-based appliance maker is still deciding what to do with another 300 employees who work at a product-development center at the Evansville location.

Whirlpool plans to move the main Evansville production work to Mexico and another yet-to-be-decided location.

The company has aggressively cut costs as demand for big-ticket items has shrunk in the recession.

Al Holaday, Whirlpool's vice president of North American manufacturing, said the cuts were "difficult but necessary."

The closing comes a month after General Electric Co. said it had reversed plans to close its refrigerator plant in Bloomington. GE announced in January 2008 it would close the plant due to losses caused by declining sales of side-by-side units and rising material and labor costs.

However, GE said in July that federal incentives for energy-efficient appliances could result in the plant staying open until 2013.

The original closing was to have tossed 900 out of work. Of the 720 still on the payroll, 190 will be laid off this fall due to sluggish conditions.

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