Whirlpool announces layoffs due to COVID-19

NOW: Whirlpool announces layoffs due to COVID-19


BENTON HARBOR, MIch. -- It’s a somber day for Whirlpool Corporation as the company announced layoffs in response to the financial impact of the coronavirus pandemic.

Employees got word via email last week that layoffs would be coming.

Whirlpool released a statement saying the strain of COVID-19 has made it necessary to reduce global costs, but assures its former employees they will be taken care of, saying “In order to weather a global economic recession, which includes the impact of COVID-19, Whirlpool Corporation has publicly committed to reducing global costs. To try to minimize the impact on our people, cost reduction actions to date have included a voluntary retirement program, reduced budgets, furloughs, restricted travel, along with several other internal steps. 

It is now also necessary to take additional action and reduce the number of people we employ in the U.S. All impacted employees are being offered a strong severance package to support them in their transition. Though these decisions are difficult, we believe they are necessary to adapt to the reality of an economic contraction and prepare us for new ways of working in the future.”

  • That package includes: 2 weeks pay per completed year of service (minimum of 8 weeks, maximum of 52 weeks)
  • Termination date following 4th of July holiday to ensure separated employees receive holiday pay
  • Lump sum cash to cover the cost of COBRA health insurance coverage
  • Prorated PEP/bonus payout for 2020
  • Minimum of 3 months outplacement assistance
  • Financial advising services through MetLife
  • Support via new Whirlpool Alumni Resume Site
  • Whirlpool provided PC or Chromebook for career search
  • Ongoing Life Services / Employee Assistance services during notification and beyond

Some of the employees who spoke with ABC57 had been with the company for over 15 years.

“For a lot of people there’s a chance they haven’t had to look for work in a long time, so they need to have their resume looked at. There’s a chance they just need to look at what does the rest of the landscape look like right now. Obviously we have COVID-19, which is presenting other issues and problems when finding your next career opportunity,” Ryan Smith, owner of Express Employment Professionals.

Tuesday’s announcement came after various efforts by Whirlpool to cut back on costs. One being an offer for voluntary retirement in May, which gave eligible workers an enhanced plan if they left the company.

Whirlpool called it a difficult, but necessary, decision to weather the storm.

The appliance manufacturer also required employees to take two weeks, unpaid leave back in March.

“Nobody could have prepared for what COVID-19 has done and there have been a lot of reasons why companies are having to react,” said Smith.

And as some are now looking for a job, Express Employment Professionals in St. Joseph is already offering to help people get back on their feet — while hoping to see Whirlpool continue to benefit the local economy.

“Are there going to be long term affects? I’d imagine there would be some, but Whirlpool has been here a long time and I don’t see that changing. I’d love to see them take the next step that’s going to help them grow in a new way and develop our area,” said Smith.

While Whirlpool has already notified some employees who are being laid off, they say no one will be terminated until after the Fourth of July to assure they still receive holiday pay.

Anyone who is interested in working Express Employment Professionals to find their next job is asked to call their office at 269-408-1980 and set up an appointment.

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