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Andersen announces layoffs at Bayport and Cottage Grove

Officials with Andersen Corporation announced layoffs at the company's Bayport, Minn., and Cottage Grove, Minn. in a late-Thursday afternoon press conference.

Officials with Andersen Corporation announced layoffs at the company's Bayport, Minn., and Cottage Grove, Minn. in a late-afternoon press conference.

The company will be making 50 permanent layoffs and approximately 400 employees will be laid off temporarily.

"These decisions are not easy, and we don't make them lightly. We recognize the impact on employees and their families and we intend to provide assistance to the affected individuals," said Maureen McDonough, Andersen's director of communications.

She added that the temporary layoffs are expected to last through the end of March.

"We have more production capacity than we need for the current volume, but we have some indications that volume will pick up as the year goes along, " McDonough said.

She added that temporary layoffs are nothing new to the industry.

The permanent layoffs will be from office and management staff at the Bayport facility and they were given a two-week notice.

The 400 temporary layoffs will come from production workers at both the Bayport and Cottage Grove plant. However, McDonough would not say how many would be coming out of each facility.

The temporary layoffs will take place over the next several weeks.

McDonough noted that the company has been making major adjustments to keep it financially strong and to maximize its share of a dwindling market. The company has also been implementing other cost-cutting measures.

"To reduce our labor costs, we've offered several voluntary programs, such as early retirement, voluntary temporary layoffs and shortened work weeks," McDonough said.

She added that employees have reacted positively to these programs, which has allowed the company to minimize the number of layoffs.

Employees affected by the permanent layoffs will be provided with severance pay, benefit continuation as well as help with future job searches.

In addition, they can apply for unemployment benefits from the States of Minnesota and Wisconsin. Employees affected by the temporary layoff will remain eligible for various benefits including health care coverage.

The Bayport-based company employs 11,000 people worldwide. Earlier this week it announced the temporary layoff of 55 employees at its plant in Menomonie.

In November the company cut 52 workers at its Menomonie plant and announced that it was cutting a facility in Durham, N.C. At that time McDonough said that all of the cuts were made that were needed.

However, today (Thursday) McDonough said the economy has changed.

"Everything fell apart in the fourth quarter," she said.

McDonough added that at this time the company is not planning to cut any other facilities and hopes that the housing market will begin to improve in the latter part of 2009.

Contact Brady Bautch at