August 27, 2014

Agco to lay off workers next month

Union: about 80 production workers and a smaller number of non-production workers will be cut

Agco this week announced the layoff of 24 hourly workers at its plant in Hesston, and more cuts are expected.

The company will eliminate positions in some of the plant’s machining, fabrication and laser operations, and it is dropping from three shifts to two, said Tom Nutting, manager of human resources at the plant.

More reductions are likely, he said. About 1,500 workers are employed at the Hesston plant.

Danny Hawkins, treasurer for United Steelworkers 11228, said Wednesday that the union had been told there will ultimately be 80 production workers cut and 6 percent of the plant’s management and administrative staff.

The first layoffs will be effective on Tuesday, with further layoffs on Sept. 8 and Sept. 22.

In addition, Hawkins said, many employees are being asked to work short weeks or shorter days, he said.

“We’re working with management to make this as painless as we can,” he said. “It just depends on what happens with the markets and in the rest of the world.”

The company said the reason for the cuts is the softening market for agricultural machinery, as farm incomes fall along with crop prices around the globe.

“While market conditions have softened in the near term, the long-term outlook, especially for the products built in Hesston, is very strong and we’ll continue to react to the market accordingly,” the company said in its news release.

Among the equipment manufactured at Hesston are combines, planters and hay balers.

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