Sunday, March 9 2014 8:35 PM EDT2014-03-10 00:35:58 GMT
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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- General Electric is laying off or accepting early retirement for about 160 of the 492 production workers at its Bloomington Production Operation. The Indiana facility makes side-by-side refrigerators.
The company says demand for such refrigerators has declined more than 30 percent since 2010, and that decline is expected to continue. GE says it has lost millions of dollars because the plant has been idled for about 20 weeks a year.
Bloomington Plant Operations Manager Frank Scheffel pointed out in a news release that the plant is the last manufacturer in the U.S. making side-by-side refrigerators. "The reduced manufacturing schedule we have been operating under the last few years is not sustainable," he said. "We had to make some hard decisions to keep the remaining jobs and create an environment that will allow us to compete."
GE says the remaining workers will see an increase in pay and benefits of about 12 percent as the idle weeks are eliminated. The company is also investing in 2014 models that are compliant with Energy Star standards, and updating the appearance of the refrigerators.