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Published: Saturday, 6/9/2012 - Updated: 2 years ago

Johnson Controls announces 279 temporary layoffs

BY TYREL LINKHORN
BLADE BUSINESS WRITER

Another Jeep supplier has announced layoffs tied to the end of the Jeep Liberty in August.

In a filing with the state's Office of Workforce Development, Johnson Controls Inc. said it will lay off 279 employees at its Northwood plant. The company said the layoffs would be temporary.

Chrysler Group LLC is expected to shut down part of its Toledo Assembly complex Aug. 16 after the last current-generation Liberty rolls off the line. Johnson Controls supplies seats for the Liberty.

"When the automakers idle their production, so do we," said Mary Kay Dodero, a spokesman for Johnson Controls.

She could not say when the company's workers would return.

"When [Chrysler] tells us they're back up, we'll go back up," Ms. Dodero said.

Dana Holding Corp. announced this week it would lay off 37 people at its Matzinger Road facility in Toledo. Those layoffs are permanent.

A Chrysler spokesman declined Friday to comment on when the plant would resume production and begin building the next-generation midsize Jeep SUV. Union officials have said they expect the plant to shut down for six to eight months as Chrysler retools and expands the line. Work on the $500 million expansion is under way, with the shell of the building addition appearing to be near completion.

Chrysler has declined to comment on the progress of the expansion.

Johnson Controls reportedly has been awarded contracts for seat work on the Liberty replacement, although Ms. Dodero said Johnson Controls doesn't comment on future work. That couldn't be confirmed Friday through Chrysler, either.

However, officials with the United Auto Workers -- which represents employees at both the Jeep assembly and Johnson Controls plants -- say the contract should create about 100 jobs in Northwood.

Ms. Dodero did not have total employment numbers for the Northwood plant but said other work will go on at the plant.

Of the 279 Johnson Controls employees who will be laid off, 187 are seat assemblers. The rest are maintenance workers, materials handlers, production supervisors, and human resource professionals.

Contact Tyrel Linkhorn at: tlinkhorn@theblade.com or 419-724-6134.



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