Fort Smith's Whirlpool Appliance Plant Lays Off 275 Employees

April 1, 2006 - Posted at 12:54 p.m. CST

FORT SMITH, Ark. (AP) _ Yesterday was the last day at work for

275 employees at Whirlpool Corporation's Fort Smith plant. The Fort

Smith plant makes refrigerators, ice machines and trash compactors,

and employs about 46-hundred people. The company says it had added

workers in response to demand for a certain model of refrigerator,

but is letting workers go now that demand has slacked off. The

employees who are laid off will be eligible for state benefits,

continue to receive health insurance and continue to build up

seniority with the company.

The company expects to rehire the workers as openings at the

plant occur through normal attrition. More layoffs are expected in

the fall, however, when the plant shifts some operations to a new

plant in Mexico.

(Copyright 2006 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)