Fewer Freightliner layoffs than thought, Daimler president says

  • Posted: Thursday, March 21, 2013 12:21 p.m.
    UPDATED: Thursday, March 21, 2013 1:03 p.m.

UPDATE: About 340 workers will lose their jobs April 8 at the Freightliner plant in Cleveland, down from 715 potential layoffs announced in January.

Freightliner’s parent company, Daimler Trucks North America, has announced fewer jobs cuts than expected.

Potential layoffs at the Gastonia Components and Logistics Plant and the Mount Holly truck manufacturing plant will not take place.  

As previously announced, Daimler will cut 230 jobs at the manufacturing plant in Portland, Ore.

In January, Daimler announced 1,300 potential layoffs at several facilities. Now, expected layoffs total 600 jobs in Cleveland and Portland.

Although the heavy truck industry is still performing below optimal levels, present order intake and industry leading market share gains have enabled Daimler to reduce layoffs, a company spokesman said.

Daimler expects that market conditions will improve throughout 2013, and the workers could be recalled if orders increase.

“Our flexible, highly scalable manufacturing operations will be ready to recall workers impacted by the layoff if conditions continue to improve,” spokesman David Giroux said.

Despite slower economic and freight growth this year, Daimler’s outlook is driven by the extreme age of the truck population in North America, Giroux said. Presently, the average age of Class 8 trucks is beyond their normal operational lifecycle. Daimler 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, he said.

Freightliner Cascadia Evolution is manufactured in Cleveland.

CLEVELAND — The president of Daimler Trucks North America told a trucking magazine that previously announced layoffs at Freightliner plants in North Carolina, including the Cleveland plant, will be “significantly lower” than 1,300 jobs.

President Martin Daum told Transport Times that Daimler will release the final figure at the Mid-America Trucking Show in Louisville, Ky., which is going on now.

Potential layoffs were announced in January and included a total of 1,120 at Freightliner plants in Cleveland and Mt. Holly, plus another 80 at the components and logistics facility in the state, according to notices listed on North Carolina’s Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act website.

Daimler, Freightliner’s parent company, said it might lay off 715 employees April 1 at the Cleveland plant, which would have shut down the second shift.

The layoffs were described as temporary, meaning the company could recall the workers if business improves.

When the potential job cuts were announced, several employees told the Post they were suspicious the company was using the layoff to negotiate lower wages with the union. Daimler’s three-year contract with United Auto Workers Local 3520 is up for renewal this month.

Check back for updates.

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