Manpower works to re-deploy laid-off workers

February 1, 2019

The local Manpower branch is trying to find work for temporary employees who were laid off from Whitehall Industries last week, and other local businesses are getting involved to provide employment opportunities for affected workers.

“We’re already working on replacing them,” said Bev Schultz, market manager for Manpower. “We’re going to be calling outside clients to let them know we have this influx of workers … We’re trying really hard to re-deploy them.”

Schultz said other Manpower clients are helping find placements for the affected employees.

“It’s a great community effort and people are coming together,” she said. “We have lots of great clients in the area who we work with and lots of them have stepped up to the plate and taken on extra orders to get those people back to work.”

Schultz said the local branch operates in Manistee, Mason and Oceana counties, and noted that one Oceana County company has expressed an interest in hiring up to 13 of the affected worker, while companies in Mason County have found potential positions for 12.

According to Whitehall Industries President David Cooper, 128 temporary employees were laid off as a result of a decrease in production orders from the electric car company Tesla, which accounts for a significant portion of the company’s business.

Whitehall Industries also temporarily shut down its Madison Street plant for four to six weeks in the wake of the Tesla cuts, and Cooper said once the plant is up and running again, about 50 positions will be offered to Manpower workers.

Schultz said the layoffs came as a shock to the company, as it did to Whitehall Industries and the employees who were manufacturing parts for Tesla.

“It was shocking and unexpected news,” she said. “I’ve been with them 16 years and I do not recall this many people being laid off.”

Read the full story in Thursday’s print or e-Edition of the Ludington Daily News.