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Newest contract will bring more work to JLG

August 05, 2009|By KATE S. ALEXANDER

McCONNELLSBURG, Pa. -- The latest Pentagon contract awarded to the parent company of JLG Industries Inc. in McConnellsburg will bring more work to the Fulton County (Pa.) plant but not more jobs, a spokesman said Wednesday.

Wisconsin-based Oshkosh Corp. received a $1.06 billion contract from the Pentagon to build 1,700 additional Mine Resistant Ambush Protected All-Terrain Vehicles or MRAP-ATVs for the war in Afghanistan.

JLG spokesman Jeff Ford said this contract is an extension of the order placed by the Pentagon in late June, which allowed JLG to recall as many as 650 employees to plants across the United States.

The Department of Defense contracted with Oshkosh on June 30 to build 2,224 of the vehicles by the end of the year.

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This new contract will extend the deadline for producing the MRAPs to February 2010 and increase the order by 1,700 vehicles, Oshkosh CEO Robert Bohn said.

Bohn said the company has delivered 46 of the vehicles to troops in Afghanistan, exceeding its target of 45 vehicles delivered by the end of July.

Every contract awarded to Oshkosh or JLG is a step in the right direction for the company, which has struggled to retain employees, Ford said.

"For the corporation as a whole, this is great," Ford said of the contract. "It is great for us, too, but it will not allow us to recall more employees."

JLG began recalling employees in June to fill a $76.9 million U.S. Army contract, said Ann Stawski, vice president of marketing for Oshkosh.

The last three defense contracts awarded to Oshkosh and its subsidiaries have begun to reverse the employment trend that plagued JLG since mid-2008.

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

More than 1,000 employees have been let go from the McConnellsburg plant since 2008, with JLG Industries having reduced its work force by 45 percent, Stawski said.

While the contract will not bring more jobs back to the plant, Ford said it will bring more work to the employees recalled to fill the first contract.

JLG will continue to complement Oshkosh Defense plants to complete the extended order, he said.

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