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corporate dominance | labor

Freightliner Christmas: Massive Layoffs for Union, Record Bonuses for Management

Freightliner made headlines today on two counts. First - a trial in which Freightliner stands accused by German truck maker MAN of fraud to the tune of $475 million is going to the jury for a verdict. Second - Freightliner announces long rumored layoffs right before the Christmas break despite record profits in 2006.
Freightliner - Portland's union busting truck company - announced planned layoffs of "at least" 4000 workers according to the Oregonian. The announcement comes right before Freightliner management collects its Christmas bonus and goes home for the Christmas shutdown. Freightliner is rumored to be ready to report a $900 million profit for 2006. Despite the big year the Oregonian story quotes sources saying that about 500 layoffs will come from the Portland truck plant, but many workers suspect the company may try to close the Portland plant altogether and send production from Portland to Santiago Mexico. Union leaders are concerned about this because Portland workers are the highest paid truck builders in the company. They remember that Freightliner promised to keep the Parts Plant open back in 2002 if union members agreed to cut wages and benefits, but a year later management closed the PMP completely. Recently management at Corporate offices had a 'voluntary' lay off of rank and file salaried staff where management was asked to select people under them to be offered a 'voluntary' lay off package. The 'voluntary' lay off basically meant that management was saying - we don't want you here so take this package or get a bad review. Many of the people asked to leave were people viewed as friendly toward labor, insiders say, but the management ' suck ups' were kept. Already this year Freightliner has closed its used truck reconditioning plant in Utah, laying off about 400 people.

Could it be this has something to do with Freightliner being sued by MAN trucks in Germany for $475 million??? The law suit is related to the suspicious buy out of Western Star trucks in 2000. MAN says Freightliner lied about its books when MAN purchased English truck maker ERF. Looks like PGE/ENRON ain't alone when it comes to screwing people in order to get rich.