Commonwealth Journal

Local News

March 20, 2009

TTAI forced to lay off over 100 employees

Somerset — More than 100 Toyotetsu America Inc. (TTAI) employees have heard the news many people in the workforce are hearing today: The state of the U.S. economy is forcing the company to enact layoffs.

“Continued economic pressures have required an extraordinary response from Toyotetsu America Inc. in order to maintain company viability,” a statement from TTAI officials, released yesterday afternoon, read.

The statement blames “unprecedented business conditions” for the reduction of 118 out of 730 employees at the Pulaski County manufacturing plant. The automobile industry’s demands for production have decreased in recent months.

The “indefinite” layoffs, announced to employees yesterday, are effective immediately. There are no guarantees whether the 118 will be asked to return to work.

“There are a lot of good team members being laid off,” said TTAI senior vice president of administration Herb Krase.

“Our primary goal is to call them back as soon as possible.”

Earlier this year, approximately 120 TTAI employees agreed to a voluntary furlough. Those employees, said Krase, will be returning to work Monday. The company paid those employees’ insurance during the three months they didn’t work. They also drew unemployment benefits.

“In the recent past, Toyotetsu has taken several steps to offset company costs in an effort to maintain full employment for all full time team members,” the statement said.

“Unfortunately, because future production forecasts remain reduced, the company has been forced to take action. ... It is regrettable that we find Toyotetsu in these difficult economic times, but from the company’s perspective, we are now ‘right sized’ for the current economic conditions. Toyotetsu America Inc. is focused on the future, and the company remains fully committed to our team members, Pulaski County and the City of Somerset for the long term.”

Employees who have been laid off will receive four weeks worth of pay and continued health insurance coverage through April.

TTAI manufactures Toyota automobile parts.

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