Daimler confirms Freightliner layoffs
Published 12:00 am Thursday, January 31, 2013
UPDATE — Daimler Trucks North America issued a formal statement today about this week’s layoff notices:
Daimler Trucks North America (DTNA) is in the process of notifying approximately 1,300 production workers across DTNA’s North American manufacturing facilities of a potential layoff in compliance with the Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act. The action was taken due to the present softening of economic conditions that has adversely impacted the entire North American commercial vehicle industry and if implemented will synchronize current production rates to incoming orders. The adjustment will be spread amongst DTNA’s production facilities and DTNA will utilize recall and new hire procedures to adjust staffing levels upward when business conditions warrant.
DTNA will make the final decision to lay off workers only after all other operational solutions are exhausted. DTNA takes great pride in our manufacturing workforce and in the proven performance, quality and popularity of our vehicles. During the course of 2012, the North American commercial vehicle industry faced tremendous uncertainty with most industry experts doubting a sales rebound in Q3 and Q4. In spite of these challenges, the market grew 15% over 2011, and DTNA’s year-end market share of 34 percent continued to pace the industry.
DTNA is cautiously optimistic that market conditions will improve throughout 2013. Our flexible, highly scalable manufacturing operations will be ready to react to immediately recall workers impacted by the potential layoff. DTNA’s cautious optimism, despite slower economic and freight growth this year, is driven by the extreme age of the truck population in North America. Presently, the average age of a Class 8 truck is beyond its normal operational lifecycle which leads to increased maintenance costs. DTNA is well positioned to capitalize on aging equipment replacement needs with the new Freightliner Cascadia Evolution that has been proven to be the industry’s new benchmark in fuel efficiency and performance.
The layoffs take effect April 1. They are described as temporary, meaning the company could recall the workers if business improves.
Daimler Trucks North America is also laying off 405 workers at its plant in Mount Holly, according information on the N.C. Department of Commerce website.
The Portland, Ore.-based company said earlier this week it was informing employees at its plants of potential layoffs, in compliance with federal law.
A spokesman said the company would release more information today.
At the Cleveland plant, the layoffs would shut down the second shift, which the company restarted last year. Daimler announced in January 2012 it would hire 1,100 people at the plant to meet increasing demand for its trucks in the U.S. and abroad.
The anticipated orders didn’t fully materialize, though, the company hired only about half that number, recalling 550 who’d been laid off previously.
At a meeting Tuesday, workers at the Cleveland plant were told that if orders improve, the layoffs could be avoided, according to an employee who was there.