Freightliner plant in North Carolina to lay off nearly 1,000 workers

By Tyson Fisher, Land Line staff writer | 1/8/2016

As truck sales are expected to weaken in 2016, manufacturing plants are trimming down. Employees at Daimler Trucks North America’s Cleveland, N.C., Freightliner plant are the latest to take a hit, with nearly 1,000 workers to be laid off.

According to the North Carolina Department of Commerce, the official notice date of DTNA’s Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification (WARN) was on Jan. 4. Although it will go into full effect on March 5, affected employees’ last day of work will be Friday, Jan. 8, according to David Giroux, DTNA director of corporate communications and public relations.

“Employees will receive payment in lieu of the notice period at each employee’s regular rate of pay, and employees are free to seek and accept other employment during the notice period without jeopardizing their entitlement to the WARN period payment or benefits,” Giroux told Land Line in a statement.

The layoff is expected to be temporary. DTNA’s decision to lay off workers stems from a reduction in orders. A slowdown in truck orders has resulted in a reduced build rate.

The Cleveland plant manufactures heavy-duty Freightliner and Western Star trucks. Before the layoff, the plant employed 3,100 workers. Giroux noted that DTNA is reducing output by one-third at the Cleveland plant as the company is preparing for a weaker truck market in 2016.

In December, Mack and Volvo laid off a total of more than 1,000 workers at their plants in Maryland, Pennsylvania and Virginia. A Mack spokesperson told Land Line that the Class 8 truck market is cyclical and experienced its peak in 2015.

The United Automobile Workers Local 3520, which represents union workers at the plant, declined to comment.

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