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Daimler announces layoffs at Mount Holly, no plans for Cleveland

By Rebecca Rider

rebecca.rider@salisburypost.com

SALISBURY — A mass layoff  of nearly 800 workers at Gaston County Freightliner plants will not affect their sister plant in Cleveland, Daimler officials said. This is the third mass layoff at North Carolina Freightliner facilities this year.

Due to a reduction in orders and a diminished build rate, Daimler Trucks of North America has announced a workforce reduction in many of its North American plants. The layoffs would affect approximately 1,240 workers in four facilities, but will spare Cleveland.

“These workforce adjustments are expected to be temporary and workers will have first rights to be recalled when production is able to sustain a higher build rate,” Dave Giroux director of corporate communications and corporate marketing, said in an e-mail.

The layoffs are centered around Daimler plants in Mount Holly; Gastonia; Portland, Ore.; and Santiago, Mexico. The company will lay off 593 employees will be impacted at the Mount Holly factory, and 200 at the Gastonia Components and Logisitics facility.

Daimler also plans to release 270 workers from its Santiago, Mexico facility and 170 from its Western Star Truck Manufacturing plant in Portland, Ore.

This marks Daimler’s second mass layoff in six months for the Mount Holly plant, and its third for N.C. plants. In January the company laid off 936 employees from its Cleveland plant — nearly a third of the facility’s workforce at the time. A month later the company announced that it would lay off an additional 550 workers from the Cleveland plant and 700 temporarily at the Mount Holly plant.

Currently, the Cleveland facility has approximately 1,600 employees working one shift — 100 more than the 1,500 county commissioners require for the company to receive nearly $1 million in tax incentives approved in November.

The reduction comes due to an anticipated 15 percent decrease in class 6 to 8 medium to heavy truck retail sales, which the Freightliner specializes in. The decrease in demand has affected other suppliers, as well. In December, Mack Trucks Inc. and Volvo Trucks North America both announced workforce reductions.

Giroux said in an e-mail that the layoffs would be pursuant to notifications required under the Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act and/or union contracts. The last day of work for the laid-off workers at the Mount Holly and Portland facilities will be July 1. The last day of work at the Gastonia facility will be June 24, and the last day of work at the Santiago plant will be June 29.

At the moment, there are no plans for workforce adjustments at the Cleveland facility or at Daimler’s facility in Saltillo, Mexico.

 Contact reporter Rebecca Rider at 704-797-4264.

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