August 5, 2008

Will Boise Be Hit By More Hewlett-Packard Layoffs?

By Joe Estrella, The Idaho Statesman, Boise

Aug. 5--Hewlett-Packard dodged a question about layoffs at its Imaging and Printing Group in Boise again Monday after a published report said 300 furloughs are planned at plants in Oregon and Washington state.

A former HP employee said the buzz at the Boise plant is that the company plans to limit its local jobs cuts to middle managers.

"What people there are being told is that it won't be the peons that are affected," said Billy Knorpp, who purchased RVP Systems, a local cash register company, after being laid off from HP in 2002. "It will be middle management. A couple of middle managers I know believe their days are numbered."

Knorpp said HP has tried having fewer middle managers supervising more people in the past, with little or no benefit. "After a while they figured out that one person can't supervise that many people," he said.

HP spokesman Scott Stalla declined to comment on a report Monday in The Oregonian in Portland saying HP Vice President Sam Angelos told an employees-only meeting at the company's plant in Corvallis, Ore. last spring that the printer business was "broken" and that the company planned to lay off 300 workers and begin outsourcing work to an overseas contractor.

Stalla issued a statement in which the company said it was "pursuing growth opportunities and maximizing efficiencies to create best-in-class solutions for our customers."

"Consistent with this strategy, the Imaging and Printing Group (IPG) will continue to consider changes that will serve to maximize its growth opportunities, to invest resources most appropriately and to ensure customer satisfaction, market success, and shareholder value," the statement read.

An HP employee in Boise who has been told he will lose his job later this month recently told the Idaho Statesman that 30 workers in the Boise Imaging and Printing Group were told last May that their positions would be eliminated as of Aug. 22.

HP announced in June that it would restructure Imaging and Printing from five to three worldwide divisions. The news was followed closely by word that Nor Rae Spohn, who was named senior vice president of the company's Laser Jet Printing Business in July 2007, would retire after her division became part of the new enterprise division last Friday.

HP employs about 3,400 people at its campus on Chinden Boulevard.

Joe Estrella: 377-6465


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