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Grove lays off 80

November 17, 2000

Grove lays off 80



By RICHARD F. BELISLE / Staff Writer


SHADY GROVE, Pa. - Approximately 80 hourly and salaried production and support employees at Grove Worldwide were laid off Friday in the third major cutback in as many months at the giant crane maker.

Company CEO Jeffrey D. Bust said in prepared remarks that the latest round of layoffs "are absolutely essential elements in our continuing efforts to improve pour business and secure a viable future for Grove and its employees."

Bust made similar remarks when the October layoffs were announced.

The layoffs were another step in Grove's continuing efforts to cut costs and match the work force to current business demands, said Senior Vice President Keith Simmons in the statement announcing Friday's layoffs. Simmons was not available for comment.

Roger Hockenberry, director of employee relations, said he didn't know if more layoffs were coming. Business conditions would dictate further actions, he said.

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Grove had about 2,400 workers when 260 workers were laid off in early September. Another 140 were laid off permanently in October. Friday's layoffs were also permanent, Simmons said in the news release.

Grove is one of Franklin County's biggest employers.

The cuts affected Grove employees across the board, from the lowest paid to top management.

In a Nov. 2 statement, Bust said Grove negotiated loan terms that gives the company 15 months to stabilize its financial picture.

The agreement gives Grove time to complete an action plan aimed at eliminating losses caused by the operating performance of the company's aerial work platform business, which has been showing a loss.

Bust said the aerial work platform market is being increasingly dominated by smaller manufacturers and a smaller customer base. The company cut its work platform product line this year and is looking to become partners with other manufacturers.

The company has also streamlined manufacturing operations, Bust said on Nov. 2.

He said Grove began the 2000 fiscal year with a 35 percent share of the North American Crane market. The company expects to finish the year at 45 percent, he said.

"Grove has to continue to streamline processes, flatten organizational structures and eliminate bureaucracy," Bust said. "We have no choice but to structure ourselves to compete successfully in a market environment that will be even more challenging than it is today."

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