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Grove lays off 70 people

February 11, 2002

Grove lays off 70 people



By RICHARD F. BELISLE / Staff Writer


SHADY GROVE, Pa. - Another 70 workers at Grove Worldwide were laid off Friday at the cranemaker's main production plant in Shady Grove, a company spokesman said.

The latest round of layoffs, the second since late September, drops Grove's employment in the Shady Grove plant below 1,200.

Grove spokesman Roger Hockenberry said Friday the company doesn't give out employment figures.

Hockenberry said the soft North American market forced Friday's layoffs. It affects production workers and support staff, he said.

Jeffrey D. Bust, Grove chairman and chief executive officer, said in prepared remarks that the cutbacks "are strictly market driven and are a result of a downturn in the industry. Competitive pressures remain intense as crane and aerial work platform manufacturers vie for the reduced number or orders.

"Construction equipment markets are cyclic in nature and we are in the low part of the cycle," he said.

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"The continuing economic conditions in our industry demand that we take prudent action now to enable us to continue to compete effectively on a worldwide basis," Bust said in his statement.

Hockenberry said Friday's layoffs are considered to be permanent.

Grove workers have been on a reduced work schedule with planned temporary shutdown periods each month. The company returns to a regular work schedule to eliminate inefficiencies caused by the shutdown and start-up of operations each month, company officials said in the statement.

In mid-December Alan Antoniewicz, Grove senior vice president, said at a press conference that the company was "doing the right things.

"We're getting a bigger piece of a smaller pie. When the economy turns around we'll get a bigger piece," he said.

Antoniewicz said Grove had spent more than $13 million developing a campus-style production process that resulted in cuts in production time and an annual savings of about $30 million.

The new system also cut the number of material suppliers from 1,100 to about 540 with the goal to get the number down to 350.

In recent years Grove has laid off more than 1,000 blue- and white-collar workers. Six years ago the company was Franklin County's largest employer with more than 2,500 workers.

The company went in and out of a Chapter 11 bankruptcy last year that reduced its indebtedness from $584 million to $205 million.

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