Daimler Trucks North America to lay off 2,300 workers

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Daimler Trucks North America will lay off more than 2,300 workers, about 9 percent of its work force, at its plant in Portland, Ore., and three facilities in North Carolina because of poor economic conditions and declining U.S. truck sales, the company said Thursday, Jan. 9. The announcement is the latest bad news from heavy-duty truck manufacturers, which have announced cutbacks at North American facilities over the last year.

Portland-based DTNA said it will lay off 2,130 workers at assembly and parts plants in Gastonia, Mount Holly and Cleveland, N.C. The layoffs take effect March 13. The Cleveland plant will lay off about 1,290 workers, leaving 700 employees. The Mount Holly plant will lay off 570 workers and shut down almost completely, performing limited component assembly work afterward.

About 190 people will be laid off at the Portland truck plant on Jan. 30, the company said. After the layoffs, about 700 people will work at the plant, which builds U.S. military vehicles and Western Star trucks. Last October, the company announced it would close the plant in 2010 when current labor union contracts expire. Another 1,900 people work at the Portland headquarters and aren’t affected by the layoffs.

“Although these actions are unavoidable and necessary, we deeply regret the impact on our employees and their families,” says Chris Patterson, DTNA president and chief executive officer. “These are extremely difficult and challenging times for our industry. We look forward to returning to normal production operations when business conditions stabilize.”

Last October, DTNA announced it was discontinuing its Sterling truck brand and closing its plant in St. Thomas, Ontario, along with the Portland facility.

DTNA isn’t the only truckmaker affected by the recession:

  • Volvo Trucks North America this month said it would lay off 650 hourly workers, or 40 percent of its work force, at its truck assembly plant in Dublin, Va., because of declining demand for Class 8 trucks; the layoffs will occur in March and April. Last May, Volvo laid off about 970 workers making Mack trucks at its Dublin plant; in August, it announced plans to shift production of Mack trucks from Dublin to its plant in Macungie, Pa.
  • Kenworth announced last November that it will lay off about 400 employees and eliminate most truck manufacturing this month at its plant in Renton, Wash. In December, the company said it will lay off nearly 100 workers this month at its facility in Chillicothe, Ohio.
  • Navistar’s International truck division said last November that it planned to lay off an estimated 500 workers at its facility in Chatham, Ontario.