Whirlpool Cutting 700 Jobs

Jobs cuts at Tennessee plant that manufactures air purifiers, dehumidifiers and cooking ranges; company also negotiating licensing agreements with global partners.

BENTON HARBOR, Mich. (AP) - Whirlpool Corp. is eliminating more than 700 jobs at two plants in Tennessee that manufacture dehumidifiers, air purifiers and cooking ranges, the company said Thursday.

The Benton Harbor-based appliance maker also said it is negotiating a licensing agreement with potential global partners to manufacture, market and distribute air control products that will carry the Whirlpool brand name.

''This approach brings new opportunities for the Whirlpool brand presence in air control,'' Marise Kumar, vice president for business strategy and core competencies, said in a statement. ''This future transition will offer our customers expanded product offerings and services.''

Whirlpool plans to phase out the manufacturing of dehumidifiers and air purifiers at its plant in La Vergne, Tenn., after this year. About 330 jobs will be cut, the company said in the statement.

It said beginning next year, the company will expand product offerings and services through the new provider.

Whirlpool also said it will relocate the manufacture of its freestanding cooking range units from its Cleveland, Tenn., plant to other factories in Tulsa, Okla., and Celaya, Mexico.

About 400 jobs will be eliminated at the Cleveland site by the end of 2008, mainly through normal attrition and reduction of temporary positions, the company said.

It hasn't been decided how many jobs will be added at Tulsa and Celaya, the company said.

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