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October 14, 2012

Factories laying off workers

Matthew-Warren, Federal-Mogul cutting back

KOKOMO — Late last week, 17 people were laid off from MW Industries, known

locally as Matthew-Warren, in the latest and largest of temporary

layoffs the company has instituted to handle decreasing business

from Europe’s auto sector.

“We’ve laid off some people over the last few weeks, but today, this

was the largest group of people that we’ve laid off,” John Lendel,

vice president and general manager at MWI’s Logansport plant, said Friday.

The plant makes springs, specialty fasteners and other precision

components for customers in the automotive sector as well as other industries.

Fifteen hourly employees and two salaried workers were laid off

Friday, leaving the work force at 103 hourly and 25 salaried

employees.

“This is not a pleasant time,” Lindel said. “Hopefully we can bring

most of the people back in the next 30 to 60 days. I don’t consider

this as a permanent reduction in workforce.”

Lindel said MW Industries had laid off 22 percent of its workforce

locally since last July. He doesn’t think the company will be able to

recall all of those laid off since then, but he hopes that many, at

least, will be able to return.

“The economy is just not good, and we’re not seeing a rebound,”

Lindel said. “Unfortunately, I don’t believe it is as strong as

everybody’s telling us.”

But the most recent layoffs should be temporary, he said.

“Hopefully the economy will kick back in by the end of the year, and

we can just get back to normal working conditions,” Lindel said.

MWI isn’t the only local automotive supplier that has felt the ripple

effects of the troubled worldwide market.

Managers at Federal-Mogul, whose Logansport plant manufactures fuel pumps, have lately been asking for volunteer layoffs to adjust for a smaller number of orders from some commercial and heavy-duty vehicle customers, according to company spokesman Steve Gaut.

Some of Federal-Mogul’s customers, especially those in Europe, have lowered how much they plan to produce because of reduced demand for commercial vehicles, Gaut said, and that trickles down to suppliers such as Federal-Mogul.

Voluntary layoffs are the least disruptive way to adjust weekly employment to match orders, he added, and the company has

successfully gotten five to 10 volunteers per week to take a temporary layoff.

Those temporary layoffs last only a few days, Gaut said.

• Sarah Einselen is news editor for the Pharos-Tribune. She can be reached at 574-732-5151 or sarah.einselen@pharostribune.com.

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