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JLG gets $76.9 million Army contract

June 10, 2009|By KATE S. ALEXANDER

McCONNELLSBURG, Pa. -- Sixty employees laid off from JLG Industries Inc. in McConnellsburg will get their jobs back this fall thanks to the manufacturer's latest multimillion-dollar contract with the U.S. Army.

Estimated at $76.9 million, the contract is a positive change for the company, which has struggled since last year with decreased demand for its products, said Ann Stawski, vice president of marketing communications for The Oshkosh Corp., JLG's parent company.

JLG secured the contract in May to rebuild 500 All-Terrain Lifter Army System (ATLAS) telehandlers and 300 other rough-terrain forklifts.

This is its second military contract since April to be filled exclusively at the McConnellsburg plant. JLG contracted with the Army in April to build 214 ATLAS II telehandlers for $33.7 million.

Decreased demand forced layoffs of more than 1,000 people to date at the plant.

As Fulton County's largest employer, the layoffs have contributed heavily to the county's dismal unemployment rate, which stood at 14.8 percent in March.

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Despite major work-force reductions, select employees were informed during the company's last round of layoffs in May they would be recalled for this contract, Stawski said.

JLG will need to recall employees to fill the order by its final delivery date of April 2014, she said.

The first of 60 production employees will be recalled starting in mid-August. Recalls will continue through September, Stawski said.

JLG hopes the latest contract will have a positive impact on production at the McConnellsburg plant, said Jeff Ford, senior manager of marketing communications.

The access equipment manufacturer has rebuilt 800 rough-terrain machines for the Army to date, Ford said. The new contract will double that, he said.

The forklifts and telehandlers scheduled for refurbishment at JLG are part of the Continental United States (CONUS) Reset program, which aims to extend the life of Army equipment by periodically rebuilding it.

Denny Buterbaugh, the company's vice president of government products and programs, praised JLG for its workmanship on past projects.

"Our ability to extend the useable life through a rebuild program is a testament to the robust, rugged design incorporated into each JLG machine for the military," he said.

The machines will arrive from Iraq and Afghanistan and will receive repairs to transmissions, axles and engines while at the McConnellsburg plant.

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