Freightliner laying off 1,290 in Cleveland

Published 12:00 am Thursday, January 8, 2009

By Mark Wineka
The Freightliner truck manufacturing plant in Cleveland will reduce its workforce by 1,290 workers effective March 13.
The second shift will be discontinued.
In total, 2,327 production line and shop positions are being wiped out at Freightliner’s four manufacturing plants, including three in North Carolina. The Mount Holly plant will become idle, with the exception of limited component assembly activities.
The company said in a press statement the continuing economic and industry downturn and a related sharp decline in truck orders forced the decisions.
Daimler Trucks North America, parent of Freightliner, said vehicle and parts manufacturing plants in North Carolina are impacted by this decision, as well as related pre-delivery inspection facilities.
The company’s truck manufacturing facility in Portland, Ore., also is affected.
WARN notification of the workforce adjustments will be filed tomorrow in North Carolina for the local facilities involved, with an effective date of March 13. The reduction in force at the Portland Truck Manufacturing Plant will be effective Jan. 30.
“Although these actions are unavoidable and necessary, we deeply regret the impact on our employees and their families,” stated Chris Patterson, Daimler Trucks North America president and chief executive officer. “These are extremely difficult and challenging times for our industry. We look forward to returning to normal production operations when business conditions stabilize.”
The company’s manufacturing and related facilities affected include:
– Cleveland truck manufacturing plant, which makes Freightliner brand heavy-duty trucks. Reduction in force: 1,290 production line and pre-delivery inspection positions. Effective date: March 13.
– Mt. Holly truck manufacturing plant, which makes Freightliner medium-duty trucks. Reduction in force: 572 production line and pre-delivery inspection positions. Effective date: March 13 (all shifts will be idled; limited component assembly work continues).
– Gastonia parts manufacturing plant, which makes truck parts and components. Reduction in force: 275 shop positions. Effective date: March 13 (first and second shifts reduced).
– Portland truck manufacturing plant, which makes U.S. military and Western Star brand commercial vehicles. Reduction in force: 190 production line positions. Effective date: Jan 30 (no change to current single shift operation).