Black & Decker consolidation costs 100 jobs

Salaried employees cut as two divisions merge

September 06, 2001|By Kristine Henry | Kristine Henry,SUN STAFF

Black & Decker Corp. has laid off nearly 100 salaried employees now that its Kwikset lock and Price Pfister plumbing divisions have been combined into one business group. The divisions were joined late last year.

Kwikset had been in Irvine, Calif., and Price Pfister was in Pacoima, Calif. The new headquarters is in Lake Forest, just south of Los Angeles. About 80 of the employees affected worked in California, while some were salaried employees at a manufacturing facility in Mexico.

"I would characterize this layoff as more fine-tuning and a result of consolidation rather than business conditions," company spokeswoman Barbara Lucas said. "Although clearly business conditions are challenging."

The Towson-based toolmaker's profit fell nearly 50 percent in the second quarter to $41.7 million, and revenue was down 5 percent to $1.07 billion. The earnings drop was steep because the company slowed production to reduce its inventories, which lessens efficiencies and productivity.

Lucas said employment at the Towson headquarters is steady -- perhaps down "about a dozen, because of attrition." At the company's manufacturing plant in Easton, employment is down about 5 percent from this time last year to 1,450, she said.

When the work force becomes too large, the toolmaker's use of temporary workers has allowed it to reduce the numbers without laying off permanent employees.

"When the number is added to or pared down from its core of 1,400 to 1,450, it's all the temporary work force," she said.

The Easton plant makes DeWalt drills.

Even with the reduced work force, she said, production at the Easton plant is about where it was last year because of increased efficiencies.

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