Mack Trucks Has Decided To Lay Off 400 at Lehigh Valley Plant
Mack Trucks released a statement on Tuesday, December 15, 2015, stating that it will have to reduce its workforce at the Lehigh Valley Plant. At least one-fifth of the overall workforce is being laid off. The process of elimination will start in January, 2016.
The company is one of the largest local job providers in the region. As a heavy-duty truck manufacturer, when Mack Trucks decided to shift their main operations from Allentown to North Carolina, six years ago, the local population was employed to overtake the production processes from the Allentown workforce.
Mack spokesman, Christopher Heffner, expressed his regret over the company’s decision to lay off 400 people and said, “Regretfully, based on the need to adjust production to meet the reduced demand in the market, we will unfortunately have to lay off about 400 people at Mack Lehigh Valley Operations.” The company claims that it began the official notification process at the lower Macungie Township plant from Tuesday, 8 a.m.
But the United Auto Workers Local 677, refuted their claims by saying that their workers were not notified by the company, rather they were informed by the local news agencies. The Mack employees are represented by the United Auto Workers Association. Ed Balukas, the President of UAW Local 677 said, “It’s just a rotten way to find out you’re getting laid off.” He also informed the press that the employees will be working their last day at the plant on January 22, 2016.
The employees are heartbroken over the decision by the management. One of the workers, who is being laid off, said that he was “blindsided” by the announcement. Mike Reap was working at the plant for the last 17 years as a production technician. In his statement the 47-year old worker said, “After it hit the news, you could feel a very high level of stress in the plant. A lot of guys were upset, and felt betrayed and disrespected.” Reap also referenced the holiday and the Christmas season and said in his statement, “It really sucks. It’s a bad time of year. And to be handled this way is very disrespectful to the employees who spend their time and effort building the trucks.”
Although the employees were unaware that they were being laid off, they did know that a massive cut-back program was in action and the cost reduction programs were applied all over the production, management, and administration sectors in the plant.
The Union is making its efforts to represent the employees who will be effected by this decision, before its contract expires next October. The spokesman also said that if the company starts hiring again, the employees who were laid off will have the first and primary right to be employed again. As the Mack truck manufacturing doesn’t have any plans to relocate its plants, this is a strong probability.
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