Saturday, February 28, 2009
WINNEBAGO CUTTING SALARIES
Friday, February 27, 2009
Forest City, Iowa-based Winnebago Industries will cut salaries and force employees to take a week off without pay as part of a bid to reduce expenses and save jobs, the company announced Thursday (Feb. 26).
The Des Moines Register reported that most salaried employees will see their pay reduced by 3% beginning March 1, according to documents filed with the U.S. Securities Exchange Commission. Vice presidents will lose 10% of their paychecks. Chairman and Chief Executive Bob Olson, who received a pay package worth $731,370 in fiscal 2008, will receive a 20% salary cut, the company said.
A Winnebago spokeswoman said workers also must take a weeklong "unpaid leave of absence" in the company's fiscal fourth quarter, with most taking June 29 to July 3.
The motorhome maker lost $9.6 million, or 33 cents per share, in the quarter that ended Nov. 29, down from a profit of $10 million during the same period the year before. The company has been stung by the general economic pain, last summer's high gas prices and credit tightening.
Winnebago said in December that it reduced its work force by 12%, to 1,700 employees, during the last three months of 2008.
Thursday, February 26, 2009
REXHALL FILES FOR BANKRUPTCY
LANCASTER, Calif. -- Motorhome manufacturer Rexhall Industries filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection yesterday, RV Industry News has learned.
The company claimed total assets of $5.1 million and total debts of $4.9 million. Chapter 11 allows businesses to reorganize by restructuring debt so they can get out from under burdensome leases and contracts. Usually, businesses that file Chapter 11 are allowed to continue to operate, although it does so under the supervision of the Bankruptcy Court and its appointees.
Attorney Steven Fox has been retained to represent the company. He can be reached at 818-774-3545.
During a special meeting of Rexhall shareholders Feb. 4, it was decided that Chapter 11 was the most beneficial financial and legal alternative for the company, according to documents filed at the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for Central California.
Wednesday, February 25, 2009
RV WORKERS AT MONACO AND COUNTRY COACH STILL NOT BACK TO WORK
Wednesday, February 25, 2009
Dan Peterson has worked at Monaco Coach Corp. in Coburg, Ore., the past 9½ years. But he’s spent the last 2½ months at home, in limbo, waiting for the RV factory to resume production.
The Register-Guard reported that he and his wife, who lost her job last month, have been scraping by, cutting their household budget and surviving on unemployment checks while waiting out a furlough that began in early December.
“It’s kind of harsh,” Peterson said. “It’s hard, worrying about losing the house. Everybody says God provides. Hopefully.”
Peterson, 35, is among about 2,200 Monaco employees — and about 500 workers at Country Coach LLC in Junction City — who have been out of work since early December or before, while they wait to be either called back to work or, perhaps, permanently laid off. Historically, the factories are idle for about two weeks every December. But this time those holiday furloughs, which amount to temporary layoffs, turned into indefinite layoffs as the factories remained closed in the face of brutal market conditions.
This week, Monaco told employees it would resume production next Monday (March 1), but how quickly employees are brought back to work, and how many, is unclear. A recorded message on an employee hot line said the company would “selectively recall” employees starting Monday, and that production gradually would be ramped up, with additional employees called back as sales volumes increase.
According to the Register-Guard, a company spokesman did not return phone messages seeking comment on Monday and Tuesday.
Battered by a withering economic downturn, the RV makers are struggling to stay in business. Monaco may get kicked off the New York Stock Exchange unless its stock, trading at historically low prices, starts to increase in price. And an Oklahoma hedge fund has bought up 15% of the company’s stock, in what analysts say could be a precursor to a hostile takeover bid.
Privately held Country Coach, meanwhile, has said it could close for good as early as Saturday unless it can obtain outside investment. A major creditor, Wells Fargo, has aggressively been trying to seize company assets after the company defaulted on an $8.5 million loan balance. Its majority owner, acting as a creditor, has filed a petition to put the company into involuntary bankruptcy.
Caught in the fallout are the workers, many of whom had come to rely on the RV makers for family wage jobs and benefits.
Les Gilbertson, 54, of Elmira has worked at Country Coach for 25 years, where he installed solid-surface countertops in the luxury motor coaches.
“It’s been a really rough road,” he said.
He said he hopes the RV industry can get back in gear, but isn’t sure it will happen.
“I’m trying to keep a positive attitude that it will get back, but in the back of my mind I have a feeling it’s not going to,” he said. “If the RV industry doesn’t get back, what else is there for workers like us and at Monaco and Marathon? What is everybody going to do? Where are these people going to go?”