July 1, 2008

Newmar Announces Layoffs

By Adam Nussbaum, Goshen News, Ind.

Jul. 1--NAPPANEE, Ind. -- Layoffs will be made at Newmar Corp. in Nappanee next week, although company officials are reluctant to disclose how many jobs will be lost.

"All I can say is that there will be a reduction in force, and that will probably take place next week," said Keith Weirich, director of human resources. "Most of the employees have been notified."

Newmar currently employs 780 people, Weirich said, and most of the lost jobs will come from the production lines. The cuts are "related to the slowdown in the economy, and the lack of demand for RV products," he said.

Newmar Corp. makes fifth wheels, motorhomes and luxury motorhomes, and has one plant in Nappanee.

Larry Andrews, executive director of the Nappanee Area Chamber of Commerce, said, "I'm just really concerend about saying anything (about the layoffs). This is something that Newmar wants to do themselves, and to comment on and control."

Although the layoffs are unfortunate, they are not surprising, said Nappanee Mayor Larry Thompson.

"With the current times and high prices of fuel," he guessed it was "probably going to happen," but that it's "not necessarily a long-term thing.

"I think all of Elkhart County is being affected pretty heavily with this. Hopefully by the end of the summer, the politicians can get their heads together and resolve this."

Newmar is one of Nappanee's largest employers, Thompson said, so it's a big deal anytime the company make layoffs.

"It's not unusual for this time of year for some of these plants to close for a week or two weeks," he said, but "a layoff is defintely unfortunate."

Keeping the current situation in perspective is important, Thompson said.

"I think you have to look at it over a 10-year span, and life's been pretty good," he said. "From time to time, over a span of years, undoubtedly it's going to happen. Hopefully we can weather the storm."


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