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Waynesboro manufacturer cuts 15 more jobs

July 10, 2009|By KATE S. ALEXANDER

WAYNESBORO, PA. -- Manufacturing jobs in Franklin County continued to fall Friday when Waynesboro-based manufacturer Johnson Controls, formerly known as the Frick Co., cut 15 more jobs, reducing its work force by about 3 percent.

Darryll Fortune, global director of public relations for Johnson Controls, said slow market conditions are to blame for the reduction.

The company has been a staple in the Waynesboro community since the 1850s as one of the town's three major manufacturing anchors.

Today, the plant produces compressors, controls and packaged systems for the industrial refrigeration and natural gas compression markets.

Like many manufacturers, Johnson Controls is under increasing pressure to continually reduce costs, Fortune said.

"The global economic downturn has resulted in an unprecedented decline in production," he said.

Fortune said about 515 people still are employed by the CV Avenue facility, 55 fewer people than in December 2008.

None of the men and women laid off Friday were union employees, said Todd Scott, president of UAW Local 1296, the bargaining unit for employees at Johnson Controls in Waynesboro.

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All of the machine, fabrication and panel, or "shop," employees at the plant are unionized, he said.

In the past year, only 10 union employees have been let go from the plant, Scott said.

For the rest of the shop employees, some areas have gone to a reduced workweek to cut costs, he said.

Johnson Controls emphasized in a statement to The Herald-Mail the decision to reduce the work force was not a reflection of the quality of work performed at the plant.

Rather, it is part of a corporatewide plan known as Building Efficiency, which seeks to streamline operations and improve efficiency, Fortune said.

Wisconsin-based Johnson Controls is working to improve efficiency and better position the company for future growth, according to a company statement.

Reducing the work force in Waynesboro should aid the company's efforts to increase efficiency, ensure the long-term success of the overall business and improve the competitiveness of Johnson Controls' manufacturing operations, according to the statement.

Fortune said the employees let go Friday will be eligible to elect severance consideration. Johnson Controls will work with area agencies to assist employees in outplacement and retraining programs.

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