Whirlpool second shift, 400-plus jobs may end in August

The more than 400 jobs created with a second shift of production at Whirlpool’s Fort Smith plant will be lost when the shift ends Aug. 31, according to sources close to the situation.

“This of course is all dependent on orders. If they get those (more orders) or if the economy goes better than we all think it will and is strong then (August), production could continue,” noted one source.

An official with Benton Harbor, Mich.-based Whirlpool Corp. would not comment on production specifics.

“As we communicated in December, the second shift is expected to be needed through the summer. We are not providing a specific date,” Jill Saletta, director of external communications for Whirlpool, noted in an e-mail to The City Wire.

Whirlpool was expected to begin the second shift Jan. 25.

The sources say supervisors brought back on temporary contracts through an employment agency have been told their contracts will end Aug. 31 when the second shift ends. If this happens, it confirms previous reports that employment and production gains at Whirlpool are short term and not part of a broader plan to secure production in Fort Smith.

Insiders have said production from the second shift is intended to build up inventory while the company’s plant in Ramos Arizpe, Mexico, is down for retooling. Also, production of counter-depth refrigerators now in Fort Smith is expected to move to the Ramos plant beginning in the third quarter of 2010.

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Whirlpool has declined to comment on its production plans.

The future of Whirlpool’s Fort Smith plant has been a cause for concern following the November 2003 announcement by Whirlpool of a global reorganization plan. The news since November 2003 has been troubling, with Whirlpool announcing numerous production cuts and layoffs that has seen employment in Fort Smith drop from about 4,600 in early 2006 to between 1,300-1,500 today. The last hit came in August 2009, when the company cut about 40 salaried and about 250 hourly jobs.

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Worried about losing your job?

Tell America. Ask for help. Tax time is coming. For some that's bad news, for others it's new appliances and such. I'm in California. Google News(location:Ca ) Search! Don't just promote the product you make, spread some good old American know-how, and sell us a better economy. Our economy would boom if American's understood how it worked, and thought they could make a difference. They can. You have 400 motivated people and only 50 states to address. That's eight people per state, to write articles, comment in the news, etc... Consumer confidence is simple. If the people are confident, they spend, and the economy does well. Two problems. 1. Up until now, consumer confidence has been some mysterious force that's out of our control. 2. With our current spending habits, we are not stimulating the economy, we're depleting it and devaluing our currency. Three solutions. 1. Confidence should be triggered by a clear path and goal, not by speculation in the media. 2. If we re-focus our spending habits more toward American made products, spending would actually stimulate our economy instead of depleting it. 3. If you talk about this in all 50 states like I'm suggesting and your audience knows it's in all 50 state, the people will be confident, know how it works, and then nothing can stop them. We need balance. Our trade balance(currently a deficit) determines the supply and demand influence on the value of our dollar. Balance the trade and the value of our currency will stabilize. Create a trade surplus and the value will rise, causing our key inflation factors like gas and oil to drop
Tell America. Ask for help. Tax time is coming. For some that's bad news, for others it's new appliances and such. I'm in California. Google News(location:Ca ) Search! Don't just promote the product you make, spread some good old American know-how, and sell us a better economy. Our economy would boom if American's understood how it worked, and thought they could make a difference. They can. You have 400 motivated people and only 50 states to address. That's eight people per state, to write articles, comment in the news, etc... Consumer confidence is simple. If the people are confident, they spend, and the economy does well. Two ...>> Read the entire comment.

What's this WE nonsense.

WE, whoever that is, are not powerful or rich enough to offset the greedy corporate parasites at the top of the food chain with their offshore tax havens and bankaccounts, obscene profiteering on the backs of Third World Workers and collusion with Chinese autocrats with no countervaling trade policies.Policies made by previous "free market" non-regulatory regimes inhabiting the White House,Congress and K Street Offices.....WE ain't got a snowballs chance in Hades with the current inherited economic mess. So all WE can do is make alot of noise and cause political discomfort to the entrenched politcos who created this mess. Just make sure it is not misguided. Lay blame where it belongs then move on with what and who we have to fix this thing now.

Buy local

You have a victim's mentality. The first poster had it right, American's could/should control their own circumstances. I challenge you to provide me with 3 greedy corporations. Just 3, that shouldn't be hard if they are parasites like you suggest. We need to borrow Sam Walton's 1980's "Made in America" viewpoint and drive production with our buying habits. You want American jobs, buy American products. Insist on "made in America". Take it a step further, BUY LOCAL! When you go out on Saturday night, eat at a locally owned establishment. Shop at the farmer's market when it's open. Keep it local and support your own community.

If you are going to personalize it...............

You can't be serious, insist all you want, you won't make a difference.

See your 4, raise you 40!

WalMart, GE, Ford, AT&T, Berkshire Hathaway, Hewlett Packard, IBM, Home Depot, Proctor & Gamble, CVS, Krogers, Boeing, Costco, Target, Dell, Johnson & Johnson, Walgreen, Dow Chemical, Microsoft, Sears, UPS, Pfizer, Lowes, Caterpillar, Safeway, Pepsi, Intel, Kraft Food, Motorola, Best Buy, Walt Disney, Fedex, Sysco, Cisco, Johnson Controls, American Express, GMAC, DuPont, Coca Cola, Tyson, Macy's, Delphi, Humana, 3M..... A few bad apples doesn't spoil the harvest! Companies give their customers what they ask for. If "we" demand made in America, you will get made in America. Whirlpool is losing jobs because "we" Americans want cheaper washer/dryer/refrigerators and "we" are not willing to pay extra to get made in America. It's "we" that made the choice, not the "greedy" corporations you speak of. You have more control than you give yourself credit for having. What kind of vehicle do you drive?

Made in America

For starters,we are less able to pay extra than the corporations are able to charge lower prices.

That's not true.

That's not true. Which came first the chicken or the egg? If you continue to say, we can't afford it, corporations are going to find you a cheaper alternative. Where do you think that comes from? China? Mexico? So you see, you, or we, just caused the very problem you're complaining about. We the consumers drove corporations to seek cheaper alternatives. Therefore, you, or we, as consumers are in control of what we buy, where we buy it, and who produces it.

So if "we" as Americans

So if "we" as Americans insisted on buying appliances that are made in the USA, do you think Whirlpool would continue their move to Mexico? We have voices but must first choose to be heard.

Whirlpool

It's to bad. Whirlpool has been here a long time and now it's sending jobs South. The Economy Sucks Pond Water and everyone is looking to get by as cheap as possible. I do think Corporate America and the Lobbyist in Washington run a lot of our business and buy vote's from Congress. NAFTA is a big part of the problem!