Whirlpool confirms layoffs in Benton Harbor, St. Joseph

By Tony Wittkowski | Business Reporter | The Herald-Palladium

BENTON HARBOR — Whirlpool Corp. confirmed Wednesday it is cutting jobs.

A Whirlpool spokesperson said there have been layoffs within the company, but did not say why or what departments will be affected. The company released a statement in response to the cuts.

“Whirlpool is continuously improving how we bring the most innovative products to market, focused on our consumers’ needs,” the statement read. “Aligning our teams and roles to changing business needs is a regular part of our business planning process. Where possible, we work to minimize the impact through natural attrition and moving people into new roles.”

The spokesperson said the total number of positions to be affected in the Twin Cities area is 2 percent of the company’s local work force.

Whirlpool is one of Southwest Michigan’s largest employers, with more than 4,000 workers and full-time contractors in the region. The company has about 97,000 workers globally.

The Benton Harbor-based home appliance maker reported fourth quarter net earnings of $180 million, more than doubling the net earnings recorded for the same prior-year period of $81 million. However, net sales in the quarter were $5.6 billion compared to $6 billion during the same prior-year period.

News of these layoffs come as Whirlpool continues work on the third and final phase of its Riverview Campus. According to Herald-Palladium archives, the total investment in the Riverview Campus will be $80 million once completed.

Whirlpool’s total investment in Benton Harbor between 2010 and 2016 for new and renovated buildings is estimated to be $155 million.

Contact Tony Wittkowski at twittkowski@TheHP.com or (269) 932-0358. Follow him on Twitter: @tonywittkowski.

(Author’s Note: This article was originally published on Feb. 25, 2016)

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