Bissell To Cut 200 Jobs

    GRAND RAPIDS — Bissell Inc. will undergo a transition in the first quarter of next year that will cut some 200 full-time hourly manufacturing positions here.

    A limited manufacturing operation will be retained in Grand Rapids, the company said.

    However, Grand Rapids will remain Bissell’s corporate home, and the more than 350 associates involved in corporate services will continue to operate locally.

    According to plans, the company’s southwest operations in McAllen, Texas, and Reynosa, Mexico, are to become its primary North American manufacturing locations.

    The transition is slated to begin late in 2003’s first quarter, with completion expected in early 2004.

    President and CEO Mark Bissell said global competition and a changing industry necessitated the transition.

    “In order to maintain our stability and ensure that we remain competitive worldwide, we’ve had to make some tough decisions,” he said, adding that it was one of the hardest decisions that the company has ever had to make.

    “In order to help our employees through this difficult time, we communicated this news to them as early as possible, spreading the transition over a 16-moth timeframe.

    “In addition, we’re offering a fair, comprehensive severance package including pay, medical insurance continuation and outplacement assistance and will be available to assist them in every  way we can.”

    The 126-year-old company manufactures sweepers, vacuums, deep cleaning machines and home cleaning formulas.           

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