Tool Plant to Lose Half of Workforce

January 10, 2003
Posted at: 4:10 p.m. CDT

WALNUT RIDGE, Ark. -- A Walnut Ridge manufacturing plant will lose over half of its 300 employees through 2003, according to a company spokeswoman.

Becky MacDonald, spokeswoman of the Robert Bosch Tool Corporation told KAIT that the company will initially layoff 60 employees at their SB Powertools plant with another 100 positions to be phased out before the end of 2004.

Corporate officials met with employees Friday morning, announcing its plans for the facility. MacDonald says that some of the eliminated positions will be moved to Mexico.

She attributed the moves to a significant reduction in product orders for 2003. MacDonald says the company's Heber Springs facility will not be affected.

The Walnut Ridge plant has been in existence since 1973, doing business as Skil tools. The Bosch and Skil companies then merged, changing the plant name. Some tools under the Skil brand name are still made at the facility.

Walnut Ridge Mayor Glen Murphy called the announcement "devastating economic news" for his community.