Community reacts to word of Whirlpool layoff

NOW: Community reacts to word of Whirlpool layoff

BENTON HARBOR, Mich. -- Two rounds of layoffs hitting one of the biggest businesses in Southwest Michigan.

Benton Harbor based appliance maker, Whirlpool is cutting jobs again, this time in two waves.

There is no word on how many employees will be impacted in Benton Harbor, but Whirlpool has confirmed cuts will be made close to home.

Whirlpool saying in a statement Monday:

"Whirlpool Corporation has announced today that the company is moving to a more simplified and focused organizational model to support its continued transformation into a high-growth, high-margin business that will enable its long-term success. The company will shift to a decentralized model with more autonomous business units and a leaner, more strategic corporate center."

Different from other organizational changes, the company is focused on changing the work and is adapting a two-wave approach, allowing leaders closer to the work to own the organizational design of the future. The company believes this diligent and purposeful approach will enable a better organizational design in alignment with the future needs of the business. 

The first wave impacts are being shared today, focusing on the top layers of the organization and select areas of work - including changes to roles, work scopes, and in some cases elimination of positions. The second wave will focus on the rest of the organization, and those changes will be shared no later than early May. 

Impacted employees will receive transition support, including a comprehensive severance compensation package and other services. While these are not easy choices, we know they are required to secure the long-term success of the company. 

"Whirlpool has been a lifeline to the City of Benton Harbor. It has been one of the most influential in the last 10-15 years with rebuilding and revitalization,” said Duane Seats, Mayor Pro Tem of Benton Harbor.

Seats says while he is disappointed to hear the news, he is grateful for the relationship Whirlpool has remained with its hometown and hopes to see it stay that way moving forward.

Local business owners like Brian Maynard, who owns Forté Coffee are hopeful the leaders at Whirlpool are making the best decisions for the community, as their livelihood depends on it.

"For the long-term success of our business, it is important for us to have them here so frankly we want to see them stay healthy,” said Maynard.

Maynard said his business is looking forward to the boost in revenue from this year’s Kitchen-aid Senior PGA championship.

PGA and Whirlpool announced last month this year’s, which brings international attention to Benton Harbor will be the last.

When asked what this decision means for the City’s relationship going forward, the company’s director of community relations said Whirlpool has no plans to leave Benton Harbor.

"Whirlpool is going nowhere... we've been here 112 years, it is just a matter of what we are going to do next,” said Deb O’Connor in February.

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