BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) - Bobcat Co. is rehiring nearly all the employees who lost their jobs due to forced layoffs in January.
Tom Ricker, president of the United Steelworkers Local 560 in Gwinner, said 63 took voluntary severance packages, and 78 were laid off in January, bringing the work force down to 921.
The company said most of the 78 who were involuntarily released were back at work by May 1. A few more will return by June 4.
Bobcat began offering buyout packages to its hourly employees in January ''in an attempt to align its work force to correspond with lower market demand,'' the company said in a statement at the time. Ricker said the plant has amassed more than 4,000 back orders and sales have increased slightly since the layoffs.
The company also cut about 25 jobs at its machinery plant in Bismarck, through voluntary buyouts, said human resources manager Jim Flynn. Bobcat in Bismarck is looking to hire about 70 temporary workers for the summer, he said.
West Fargo-based Bobcat, known for its skid-steer loaders, is a unit of Ingersoll-Rand Co. Ltd., an equipment manufacturer. The plants in Bismarck and Gwinner make machinery for light construction. Bobcat employs more than 2,600 people in North Dakota.
Union workers at the Bismarck plant agreed to a new four-year contract in October, after a two-week strike in a dispute over wages and health care costs. Union workers in Gwinner approved a new four-year contract in December without a strike.