Cooper plant in Vicksburg reports series of layoffs, declines to say how many

Published 12:00 am Friday, October 12, 2001

[10/09/01] A downturn in business for at least the past 12 months was blamed for a series of layoffs at the Cooper Lighting plant in Vicksburg.

Corporate spokesman John Breed in the Cooper Industries headquarters in Houston, Texas, said it is company policy not to give out numbers when a reduction in employment at a plant is small.

“I can assure you it is safe to say (the local reduction in plant employment) is small,” Breed said.

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He said the reductions have been companywide and worldwide and have amounted to about 2,000 employees, dropping total company employment from 34,000 to 32,000. The reduction was spread over about 120 plants and offices.

Mickey Robertson, plant manager of the Vicksburg plant, confirmed the layoffs and said small numbers were involved. The plant employs about 900 people, he said.

“It is just a few people,” Robertson said.

“As business continues to decline, fixed costs have to decline, too,” he said.

Robertson said he and other plant officials hope business will improve and the company will be able to call at least some of the people back.

“There were some good performers” laid off, he said.

Robertson said incoming orders are down about 20 percent from previous levels.

Breed said the downturn in business traces to the last three months of 2000.