2009-02-19 / Front Page

JLG Cuts Pay

Nonproduction workers affected
By Lindsay R. Mellott STAFF WRITER

With layoffs numbering 1,670 worldwide and a weeklong unpaid leave in place for its whitecollar workers, JLG took more action Tuesday morning to cut costs, telling its remaining U.S. nonproduction workers that it would begin reducing their pay by 3 percent effective mid- March.

The same workers were also told that they must take two more unpaid weeklong leaves from work, one in the company's third quarter, ending June 30, and another in its fourth quarter, which ends Sept. 30.

Three weeks ago, JLG announced that nonproduction workers would take an unpaid weeklong leave in the company's second quarter, which ends March 31.

Kirsten Skyba, JLG vice president of global marketing, said then that the leaves from work were imposed to reduce the possiblity of future workforce reductions.

JLG began laying off workers in July 2008 in response to lower sales and earnings caused by a global economic turndown. Since then, a little more than one-third of its worldwide workforce has lost their jobs. The company has not been able to say how many of the layoffs have affected employees at its Mc- Connellsburg plant.

Skyba said Tuesday morning that JLG parent company Oshkosh Corp.'s chairman and CEO, Robert G. Bohn, would take a 15 percent reduction in pay and that the salaries of the executive team reporting directly to Bohn would be cut by 10 percent.

She said that as a whole Oshkosh is facing a "profound economic situation" even though some of the 15 companies that make up the corporation are having a "stellar year."

Oshkosh has also taken action to aggressively reduce costs, laying off workers, suspending production for one or two weeks and imposing furloughs, at its commercial units, where, as with its access equipment unit, the slowdown in residential and nonresidential construction has had the most impact.

In addition to the pay cuts, Skyba said, all JLG workers, nonproduction and production, have been told that effective March 1, the company would no longer make matching contributions to their 401(k) retirement accounts.

Skyba said that both the pay reductions and the interuption of matching 401(k) contributions would remain in effect at least through fiscal 2009, which ends Sept. 30. At that time, according to Skyba, JLG will have a "significant review" of these latest cost-saving measures to determine whether or not they remain in place.

Saying it was a little too soon to say if the economic stimulus package President Obama was to sign into law Tuesday would have an impact on JLG, Skyba felt the bill "definitely could support the construction industry" - and that could be good for JLG.

For now, Skyba said, "The company is trying hard to look at significant cost-saving measures that don't result in personnel reductions."

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