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Temporary shutdown leaves 540 out of work
by Mary Cosgrove
September 27, 2012 10:44 AM | 1682 views | 0 0 comments | 19 19 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Beginning Oct. 29, Briggs & Stratton in McDonough will shut down its production, leaving 540 employees temporarily out of work until production resumes Nov. 26.

The drought that has hit major portions of the country has caused a dwindling in sales for lawn and garden equipment.

“It’s kind of been a slow process in terms of watching what’s going on at the retail level,” Corporate Communications Director Laura Timm said.

Of the employees who will be laid off, 340 are hourly employees and 200 are temporary employees.

Temporary employees are those who have been hired through staffing agencies to help during high production times when more labor is needed.

“Our business is such that we need to ramp up and ramp down very quickly dependent on demands,” Timm said.

Both hourly and temporary employees will be able to return to their jobs once production resumes.

“All of our employees have been asked to come back to work Nov. 26, and we have armed employees with the necessary information they would need to apply for unemployment during that time,” Timm said.

The production facility works to manufacture products ahead of season, and right now the facility has completed producing its winter line of products. In the fall, spring and summer product manufacturing begins.

While production has been halted, shipments of products and service parts will continue on as normal.

Some staff has remained at the facility to facilitate those shipments, though Timm could not say what percentage of the employees have remained.

Also during the shutdown, the facility will prepare for spring and summer production.

“We’re taking the opportunity during the shut down to do some things at the plant level to re-tool,” Timm said, referring to rolling out new model lines.

Equipment from a recently closed facility in Newbern, Tenn., will also be moved into the McDonough facility.

“We’re hoping it will be very good for our dealers and consumers, as well,” she said.

Timm said the decision to shut down production for nearly a month was a tough one to make.

“It’s a difficult decision to make, and we don’t make that decision lightly, but we want the facility to be in tip-top shape and take advantage of the quiet time to ramp up for the spring season,” she said.
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