Repairmen could soon lose jobs

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Farmers Forecast

Saturday, September 23, 2006

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (AP) - After being depicted in TV commercials for decades as a lonely guy with little to do because of the dependability of his company's appliances, the Maytag repairman is losing his job - although he may soon land another one.

About 1,000 repair technicians employed by Maytag Corp. before the appliance maker was acquired by rival Whirlpool Corp. will be out of work by January, Whirlpool spokeswoman Jody Lau said Friday.

"The vast, vast, vast majority" of the displaced workers, however, will be offered similar positions at an appliance-repair joint venture owned by Whirlpool and Hoffman Estates, Ill.-based retail giant Sears Holdings Corp., Lau said.

She was not more specific about how many technicians will be offered jobs at the joint venture, A and E Factory Service, which has more than 1,500 technicians throughout the country.

Whirlpool managers met this week with technicians who worked for All-Brand Service, Maytag's home appliance repair unit, to inform them of the plan, Lau said.

Whirlpool acquired Newton, Iowa-based Maytag on March 31 in a deal valued at about $1.79 billion, or $2.6 billion including the assumption of Maytag's debt.

Whirlpool announced May 10 that it was eliminating about 4,500 jobs by closing three Maytag plants in the southern Illinois community of Herrin and in Iowa and Arkansas, and consolidating corporate offices and other sites.


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