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Whirlpool Fridge-Plant Layoff Widens

Fort Smith, Ark. – Whirlpool has expanded its planned layoff of refrigerator factory workers here this fall.

According to an email sent last week by Whirlpool spokesperson Jill
Saletta to The City Wire, a local community paper, the first round of layoffs,
announced late last year, will begin in October following the shutdown of
counter-depth refrigerator production at the plant.

A second, previously unannounced round of layoffs is expected in November
to softening of demand, which is typical at this time of year,” Saletta wrote.

Whirlpool didn’t say how many workers would be
affected by the actions, but local TV station KFSM-TV projected the number of
pink slips at between 600 and 1,000.

Whirlpool, the world’s largest appliance maker,
has been consolidating its manufacturing base in an aggressive effort to cut
costs and boost profitability amid a deep majap industry downturn. Most
recently, the company announced plans in June to close a laundry component
machining facility at corporate headquarters in Benton Harbor, Mich., resulting
in the loss of 216 jobs late this year or early in 2011.