Whirlpool Cuts 730 Manufacturing Jobs in Tennessee

Whirlpool Corp. is eliminating more than 700 positions at two manufacturing plants in Tennessee.

The company plans to stop producing dehumidifiers and air purifiers at its LaVergne, Tennessee, facility by the end of the year, resulting in the elimination of approximately 330 positions.

The company says it does not intend to close the La Vergne plant, which is in a suburb of Nashville. It will continue to employ about 270 people and produce built-in refrigerators and parts for other facilities.

The International Brotherhood of Boilermakers union, which represents the La Vergne plant, has stated that it is encouraged Whirlpool is sticking around, since “we’ve lost so many manufacturing jobs, and they’re so hard to replace.”

The workers should be able to find other local opportunities, according to the Rutherford County Chamber of Commerce. Companies that are adding jobs in the area include the rubber-mat manufacturer Wearwell and Huskey Truss & Building Supply.

Whirlpool also plans to eliminate 400 positions in Cleveland, Tennessee, following the relocation of Whirlpool’s single-cavity freestanding range cooking units. The Cleveland plant is north of Chattanooga, and employs approximately 1,200 workers.

The company says the manufacture of these cooking facilities will be relocated to locations in Tulsa, Oklahoma, and Celaya, Mexico, by the end of 2008. The company has not yet determined the number of positions being created at Tulsa and Celaya.

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Whirlpool is also negotiating a licensing agreement with potential global partners to manufacture, market, and distribute air-control products that will carry the Whirlpool brand name.

Last year it acquired Maytag Corp. and announced plans to eliminate 4,500 jobs by closing Maytag laundry washer and dryer plants and consolidating corporate offices.

Benton Harbor, Michigan-based Whirlpool has annual sales of approximately $18 billion, employing over 70,000 people globally.

Whirlpool won the “Most Innovative Recruiting Process or Departmental Structure” award at ERE’s third-annual Recruiting Excellence Awards program in San Diego in April 2007. It was also the recipient of ERE’s 2006 award for “Best College Recruiting Program.”

Elaine Rigoli has nearly 15 years of experience managing content and community for various B2B and consumer websites. Elaine has written thousands of business and technology articles and has been quoted in The Wall Street Journal and eWeek, among other publications.

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