Freightliner will close for days
By Emily ford
CLEVELAND - No layoffs are planned, but the Freightliner plant in Cleveland will shut down for an unspecified number of days, according to Daimler Trucks North America.
"In response to an industry-wide slowdown in truck orders, DTNA has taken action to adjust the production schedule at the Cleveland plant to include a limited number of shutdown days," CEO Roger Nielsen told the Post in a statement.
No layoffs are associated with this action, Nielson said.
Lagging demand has prevented Freightliner from hiring as many people as the company pledged in January, when Gov. Bev Perdue and other officials gathered in Cleveland to hail the return of a second shift as evidence of an economy on the rebound.
Despite the pomp and circumstance of the announcement, only half of the 1,100 new jobs planned for the Freightliner plant have materialized.
"The projected volume and demand that created our staffing plans at the beginning of 2012 have not materialized to the full extent forecasted and therefore, we have not yet reached the full employment levels envisioned," David Carson, general manager of human resources for Daimler, told the Post in August.
Ramped-up production was supposed to provide work for all Freightliner employees laid off in 2008 who wanted a job.
Since then, roughly 550 workers have been recalled. The plant stopped hiring before 173 people on the recall list were rehired, according to Daimler.
Those who were not called back have lost their recall rights, meaning if they ever go back to work for Freightliner, they would start at beginning pay with no seniority.
The Cleveland plant is running on two shifts as announced, Carson said, "and will continue to do so as long as market conditions allow."
About 2,100 people now work at Freightliner.
Contact reporter Emily Ford at 704-797-4264.