Electrolux To Temporarily Lay Off 117 Workers

Household appliance maker said Monday it’s temporarily laying off 117 employees at its St. Cloud, Minn., freezer plant.

ST. CLOUD, Minn. (AP) -- Electrolux said Monday it's temporarily laying off 117 employees at its St. Cloud freezer plant, effective Friday.

Company spokeswoman Blythe Reiss said the seasonal layoffs are a normal part of the Electrolux business as demand for products declines in the winter.

''It has to do with demand and inventory,'' Reiss said. ''We're doing freezers and in the dead of winter, it's the not the strongest time to be selling freezers.''

The St. Cloud plant employs about 1,400 people and is one of the area's largest employers. Swedish-based Electrolux AB is one of the world's top household appliance makers.

The affected employees are among 190 workers who were temporarily laid off in January. On March 3, 117 of them were called back. The remaining 74 also are eligible to be recalled, Reiss said.

Electrolux expects to recall employees, but Reiss said she was not sure when.

Last year, Electrolux rehired 130 workers in April that it had laid off the previous December.

To recall and lay off workers within a month is unusual, said Lewis Neuman, business representative for International Association of Machinists District 165, which represents the affected workers.

''Because it's so late in the (winter), I'm a little concerned,'' Neuman said. ''We'll have to wait and see.''

But Neuman said he hopes freezer demand will go up as people start to save money by buying groceries in bulk and freezing them.

''I'm optimistic that we'll see an upturn,'' Neuman said. ''The economy is really different this time around.''
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