Takeover target Maytag to cut work force 16% at Iowa plant


DES MOINES, Iowa - Maytag Corp., the object of a takeover contest, is cutting about 16 percent of the work force at its washer and dryer plant in Newton, Iowa.

The job cuts stem from reduced demand for the factory's products and take effect Sept. 6, Maytag spokesman John Daggett said yesterday.

The elimination of 200 jobs will leave about 1,000 workers at Maytag's hometown factory, the company's oldest, said Ted Johnson, president of United Auto Workers Local 997.

Maytag has trimmed the company's work force by 20 percent and closed its Galesburg, Ill., plant as it loses market share to Whirlpool Corp., the largest U.S. appliance maker, and lower-priced Asian manufacturers. Whirlpool is the leading bidder for No. 3 Maytag. Its $1.68 billion offer tops the $1.12 billion bid from a group led by buyout firm Ripplewood Holdings LLC.

Maytag, Newton's largest employer, employed 2,600 at the factory five years ago, Johnson said. It now is running at about 40 percent capacity.

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