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About Northwest labor press. (Portland , Ore.) 1987-current | View Entire Issue (Dec. 1, 2006)
Whirlpool buys Maytag, closes union facilities Changes at King Louie apparel
prove power of union-made
Soon after Whirlpool Corp., the
world’s largest appliance maker, ac-
quired Maytag for $1.7 billion, it an-
nounced it would close Maytag’s
unionized plants in Newton, Iowa, and
Herrin, Illinois, effectively killing off
more than 1,800 union jobs — and
4,500 jobs nationwide.
One thousand Maytag employees in
Newton, a small town east of Des
Moines, are represented by the United
Auto Workers. Another 800 in Herrin,
located southeast of St. Louis, are mem-
bers of the Machinists Union.
The 113-year-old Maytag main-
tained its headquarters and research and
development facilities in Newton, all of
which are scheduled for closure at the
end of the year.
A nonunion plant with 700 employ-
ees in Searcy, Arkansas, will close Dec.
31, and Whirlpool said it plans to sell
the Hoover vacuum division. Hoover
employees in Canton, Ohio, are repre-
sented by the International Brotherhood
of Electrical Workers.
Whirlpool said it planned to create
about 1,500 jobs at Whirlpool locations,
resulting in a net loss of about 3,000 po-
sitions after the closures are complete.
Machinists Union Midwest Territory
Vice President James Brown laid the
job losses at the feet of Congress and
the White House.
“Lousy trade policies and a complete
lack of enforcement of anti-trust and
other measures to protect jobs and con-
sumers leave American communities
devastated,” Brown told Label Letter, a
publication of the AFL-CIO’s Union La-
bel & Service Trades Department.
“Congress must act to stop the stampede
of jobs to Mexico and other nations and
enact an industrial policy that encour-
ages manufacturers to keep good jobs in
the United States. Manufacturing jobs
are the key to a strong middle class, sta-
ble families and vibrant communities.
We cannot afford to lose them.”
Whirlpool employs about 80,000
workers — both union and nonunion
— nationwide. On Dec. 4, 500 union
workers at a refrigerator facility in
Evansville, Indiana, will be laid off.
In a major change that signals the strong demand for union-made-in-North
America clothing, King Louie is now King Louie American.
The company, known for its stylish sports clothes, had been suffering from a
split personality, with both an import and a domestic division. Internal analysis
revealed that the bulk of King Louie customers demanded U.S.-union-made
clothing, precipitating the change.
Timothy Fitzpatrick of the United Food and Commercial Workers Textile
and Garment Council, said the domestic division, which was only 30 percent of
the company’s capacity, had been propping up the entire operation.
In March 2006, King Louie went up for sale. The domestic operation was
immediately snapped up by Michael Lerner, son of Morris Lerner, who co-
founded King Louie in 1937.
All King Louie American products will be union made in the United States.
Moreover, Fitzpatrick said company officials have assured the union employees
will not experience any reduction in wages or benefits as a result of the transi-
promote Cingular Wireless
Cancer caused by asbestos exposure
• Steel and Paper Mills
• Home Remodel
• Brake Repair
*32% of 3,000 Americans diagnosed every year
with Mesothelioma were exposed during
Navy service or working in Navy shipyards.
Find out more by calling:
For information on treatment options, settlements and verdicts,
asbestos products and patient profiles, please visit www.mesothel.com
The Communications Workers of America is reminding union members that
Cingular is the only unionized wireless company in the United States.
Last summer the union ran online and radio advertisements urging the public
to switch their wireless phone service to Cingular. CWA’s Web ads appeared on
the blogs Salon.com, DailyKos.com and Atrios.blogsport.com, as well as on Ya-
hoo and Google. Radio ads ran on Air America stations in the Northeast.
Union members can go to www.CingularSwitch.com for information about
making the switch to “the company that cares about workers’ rights,” or to regis-
ter for follow-up information if they are still under contract to another carrier.
CWA’s commercial message pointed out that customers can support a so-
cially-responsible wireless company and get great deals on phones and service,
as well as Cingular’s exclusive Rollover Minutes and access to the nation’s
largest wireless network.
Some 40,000 Cingular workers are represented by CWA and work under
union contracts providing regular wage increases, good benefits and a voice on
USA Coffee donates portion
of sales to IAM’s Guide Dogs
Every time you purchase coffee from the all-union USA Coffee Company, a
portion of your purchase will go to assist the Machinist Union-sponsored Guide
Dogs of America program. Donating will add nothing to your purchase price.
Guide Dogs of America is a non-profit operation that trains and supplies
guide dogs to the blind free of charge anywhere in the U.S. and Canada. Guide
Dogs of America President Jay Boormann is a former secretary-treasurer of Ma-
chinists District Lodge 24.
Ted Masinello, who heads USA Coffee, said the alliance is a win-win for
coffee lovers who prefer union-grown and processed coffee and want to help a
most worthwhile union-supported institution.
Purchase USA Coffee online at www.usacoffeecompany.com. Follow the
“Corporate Gifts” link to the icon to designate part of your purchase to assist
Guide Dogs of America.
Since 2000, Roger G. Worthington, P.C. has donated over $2,500,000
towards medical research into finding a cure for mesothelioma.
Offices in Los Angeles, Orange County and Dallas, Texas.
Lawyers licensed in California, Oregon and Texas.
NORTHWEST LABOR PRESS
Real Estate Broker
7886 SE 13th Ave.
Portland, Oregon 97202
Each Office Independently Owned and Operated
DECEMBER 1, 2006