By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
Whirlpool to close Tenn., Mexico plants, affecting 1,250 workers
Placeholder Image
    DETROIT — Whirlpool Corp. is closing plants in Tennessee and Mexico, affecting a total of 1,250 workers, the appliance maker announced Thursday.
    The Benton Harbor, Mich.-based appliance maker said about 500 jobs will be eliminated at its plant in La Vergne, Tenn., and about 750 jobs will be affected in Reynosa, Mexico. The jobs represent less than 2 percent of its global work force.
    Production of built-in refrigerators made in Tennessee will move to the company’s Fort Smith, Ark., plant, which plans to add about 275 jobs by December. Production of side-by-side refrigerators made at the plant in Reynosa will shift to the company’s Ramos Arizpe, Mexico, site, which plans to add about 600 employees by midyear.
    Whirlpool spokeswoman Monica Teague said hourly employees in good standing may apply for openings at other locations, but the company does not transfer them. Some salaried workers may be relocated to other facilities if the appropriate opening exists, she said.
    The company said in a statement it will offer affected employees severance packages and will work with unions.
    ‘‘These decisions, while difficult, are an important part of our overall operating plans, and will help ensure that we remain competitive in North America,’’ Al Holaday, vice president of Whirlpool’s North America manufacturing, said in the statement. ‘‘The changes are in no way a reflection on our employees at either the La Vergne or Reynosa facilities, whose contributions we greatly appreciate.’’
    The restructuring efforts are expected to cost between $15 million and $20 million.
    Whirlpool’s third-quarter earnings rose 50 percent despite a weak U.S. market and high material costs. Net income for the quarter that ended Sept. 30 rose to $175 million, or $2.20 per share, from $117 million, or $1.47 per share during the same period in 2006.
    The company credited strong international sales and cost controls for the gain.
    Whirlpool releases its fourth-quarter earnings on Tuesday.
    Whirlpool has more than 73,000 employees at more than 70 manufacturing plants and other centers worldwide.
    Its shares rose $2.25, or 2.7 percent, to $84.50 in afternoon trading.

Sign up for the Herald's free e-newsletter