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Waupaca shedding 120 jobs

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Demand for foundry's products shrinks as auto sector slumps

By Vince Luecke

TELL CITY – ThyssenKrupp Waupaca is eliminating 120 jobs as demand for the cars and trucks built with the parts made at its Tell City foundry shrinks amid the national economic slowdown.

Personnel Manager Ed Zellers said the cuts were announced Thursday morning and will affect approximately 120 employees. Like other automotive-related suppliers, Waupaca is coping with declining demand for brake drums, disc brakes and the range of other products it produces for the automotive, truck and agricultural markets.

Job cuts will be effective Feb. 7 and impacted workers will receive extended benefits through the end of February, Zellers said. Layoffs were based on company seniority and will be felt in the foundry's gray-iron and ductile-iron divisions.

The layoffs will reduce the foundry's work force to 774 people, Zellers said, and are considered permanent. "We aren't able to tell anyone if or when they could be rehired, so we're designating (layoffs) as permanent."

Laid-off employees will be offered jobs at the foundry should business improve. "Absolutely, they will be given first consideration for recall should business rebound more quickly than predicted," Zellers added.

Other Employers Coping

Other area companies continue to cope with decreasing demand for their products amid the national downturn.

Parts maker ATTC Manufacturing is operating four days a week under a schedule expected to continue through the end of June, Human Resource Manager David Stagnolia said.  ATTC has thus far been able to avoid involuntary layoffs by reducing hours and cross-training employees.

"It's still a very challenging time; this is how we're trying to combat it," he said.

Employees are given updates every two weeks on demand for the plant's products and employees who want more time off are being offered voluntary layoffs.

The plant, which employs more than 350 people, will also close for a week in late March. Employees were off work for about three weeks in December and January after Toyota Motors halted vehicle production due to slow sales.

Swiss Plywood closed its doors at the end of the year, eliminating approximately 40 jobs.