Miller Electric Manufacturing Co. last week announced plans to eliminate 95 jobs, or approximately six percent of its 1,500-person workforce. This reduction is in response to the current national economic situation and the corresponding slowdown in demand for Miller’s commercial and industrial products.
Miller is a manufacturer of arc welding and plasma cutting equipment for industrial, construction, motorsports, farm/ranch and home-hobby use. The company is a wholly owned subsidiary of Illinois Tool Works, based in Glenview, Ill. As part of ITW, Miller does not disclose annual sales.
The majority of the company-wide workforce reductions will be in the Appleton, Wis., area, where 60 office positions will be eliminated, and 35 Miller plant personnel will be laid off between now and early January 2009. Plant personnel releases will be based on seniority. Miller is also offering voluntary separation packages to interested employees. All personnel affected would receive one week’s pay for each year of service, as well as outplacement counseling.
“We have a great deal of concern for our people and how this economic situation affects them and their families,” said Mike Weller, Miller president. “However, we must realign our workforce to match the economic reality and focus on our identified growth opportunities.
“Our business model remains extremely viable as we focus on segmented markets, and continue to invest in our business with the right strategic skill sets and capital equipment that enables future growth.”
Miller has invested in new and/or expanded facilities for its Portable Power, Light Industrial and Components business units in the past two years.
Earlier in the year, increased gas prices, the home mortgage crisis and tightening credit markets decreased consumer spending in all the sectors served by Miller. As a result, sales for Miller’s commercial products, primarily smaller welders and plasma cutters, declined accordingly.
In recent months, Miller combated this lower demand by eliminating overtime and flex staffing, as well as offering the company’s voluntary temporary layoff program to interested personnel. During temporary layoffs, which are offered in one-week increments, individuals are guaranteed their jobs back and receive unemployment and health care benefits.