Crenlo lays off more than 30 workers


Thursday, January 28, 2010


By Jeff Kiger
The Post-Bulletin, Rochester MN


Since a new labor contract was approved at Crenlo last week and the union did
not vote to strike, the manufacturer is now reducing the "hedge" of additional
workers and inventory that had been built as a strike contingency.


That means that more than 30 employees who were recalled to work in late October
were laid off again Thursday.


Hiring the'hedge" of workers was agreed to by the Rochester company and United
Auto Workers Local 2125 to prevent a loss of contracts in case a strike did
occur. That plan was made after two contract proposals were voted down by union
members in October.


In addition to this week's layoff, the plant is implementing a production
cutback to reduce an overstock of inventory that was "banked" as a strike
contingency.


The plan includes "shutdown days, short work weeks and reduced run rates on some
product lines," said Crenlo CEO Lance Fleming. The goal is to get inventory back
to appropriate levels by the end of March.


Much of the plant will be quiet next week as most production lines will be shut
down.


Once the inventory surplus is reduced, things could pick up again at the plants.


"They are saying the guys being laid off could possibly be recalled in the March
to April timeline," said Dave Zebaugh, the president of U.A.W. Local 2125.


Crenlo, which makes products such as cabs for construction and agriculture
vehicles as well as electronic enclosures under the Emcor brand, employs about
600 people at two facilities in Rochester.