Wabash National announces work force reduction in Lafayette, Ind.

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Wabash National Corp. has announced that its manufacturing operations in Lafayette, Ind., will commence an extended holiday shutdown for the period Dec. 22 through Jan. 5, at which time certain operations will be restarted. Current plans call for the return of all but 800 associates during the period Jan. 12 through Feb. 3, with the balance expected to return to their jobs during the second quarter.

“We continue to adjust staffing levels and costs throughout our business to match current demand levels so that we can successfully navigate one of the most challenging economic periods in our history,” says Dick Giromini, president and chief executive officer of Wabash National. “While we have faired better than most in our industry as evidenced by our market share gains, the majority of current orders due for delivery in 2008 are nearing completion, and we are entering the traditionally slow first quarter, impacted even more so this year as a result of the continued challenges in our economy.”

Wabash says plant meetings were held in November with all associates to communicate the forecasted conditions, and that follow-up meetings are being held this week to update associates on the details of the current operations plan and how it would impact them specifically. Community leaders and state officials have been contacted regarding the current conditions, and officials from the Indiana Department of Workforce Development have been onsite to provide assistance to affected associates, the company says.

“We are sensitive to the impact that this action has on our associates, and we remain hopeful that all associates will be returned to their jobs by the late spring,” Giromini says. “This is a very difficult time, but we are striving to make the right choices to counteract the cyclicality of our business.”