Timesizing® Associates

Downsizings in March/2000
[Commentary] ©2000 Phil Hyde, The Timesizing Wire, Box 117, Harvard Square, Cambridge MA 02238 USA (617) 623-8080

3/31/2k  1 downsizing reported -

3/29/2k  2 downsizings reported, totaling over 8500 lost jobs -
  1. Xerox seen cutting as many as 5,000 jobs, AP via Boston Globe, D2.
    ...The business machines manufacturer..\..is expected to announce this week that it will cut about 5,000 jobs and take a one-time charge of $500-900m, analysts said. A spokeswoman [called] the reports "speculation." Xerox continues to struggle with stepped-up competition and a reorganization of its sales force.... In 1998...it eliminated about 9,000 jobs. Jack L. Kelly [of] Goldman Sachs said he expects that about half of the charge will be to cover the costs of cutbacks in manufacturing operations, including some possible plant closings. The remainder will be used to cover the costs of severance packages for anywhere from 3000 to 5000 employees who could lose their jobs, he said. The company's profits fell 52% in Q4....

  2. Ireland phone company cuts jobs, by Brian Lavery, NYT, C4.
    Ireland's former state telecom company, Eircom, announced a $406m restructuring plan that would cut 3,500 jobs and save $76m annually. The employees will be moved to Eircom's various joint ventures and encouraged to accept voluntary severance packages. In the face of increased competition from British Telecom, Eircom will also sell its Internet divisions in a public stock offering.
3/28/2k  1 downsizing reported - 3/25/2k  1 more downsizing reported, unspecified jobcuts - 3/24/2k  1 downsizing reported - 3/23/2k  2 downsizings reported, totaling over 335 lost jobs -
  1. Bank One selling loan portfolio to Household, AP via NYT, C4.
    Pushing ahead with a promised housecleaning...
    [Usually "housecleaning" just throws out dust and inanimate objects, but our present-day 'neutron-bomb' management throws out the baby with the bathwater.]
    ...after a disastrous 1999...the Chicago-based bank company..\..said yesterday that it was selling a $2.15B real estate loan portfolio to Household International.... The sale includes 97 offices of Banc One Financial Services, the... company's consumer finance arm, in 29 states. Household said it would offer jobs to nearly 900 of the 1,100 employees of the Banc One unit....
    [Let's see, 1100 minus 'nearly 900' equals over 200 people left in the lurch.]

  2. Provant to cut about 135 jobs; names CEO, Bloomberg via Boston Globe, D9.
    Provant Inc., which helps companies train their employees, said it will cut...about 7.8% of its work force.... The company said it will take a charge that won't exceed $12m in the fiscal 3rd quarter ending Mar. 31 for costs associated with the cuts and reduction of some overlapping product lines....
    [Here's an omen - a training company downsizing! Could anything more clearly symbolize the position of training in this economy that keeps whining for skills? "Let somebody else pay for it" is the attitude of 'slash and run' management, that wants only the numbers to roll up regardless of what happens to employees and consumer base. Just like the Roaring '20s.]
3/22/2k  1 downsizing reported - 3/21/2k  2 downsizings reported, totaling 5450 lost jobs -
  1. 3Com to sell or shut weaker units - Modem business and networking products are among them, by Lawrence Fisher, NYT, C30.
    The 3Com Corp. plans to sell or close several slower-growing units, including its modem business and high-end networking products. The move will reduce its work force by about 2,500 to 3,000 people [let's say 2750 - ed.], but two-thirds are expected to join the acquiring companies....
    ["Expected"?? - ed.]
    The revamping will make 3Com a much smaller company focused primarily on broadband and wireless connectivity devices for consumers and small businesses, and infrastructure equipment for companies that provide telecomm and Internet services.
    [Weird fad, downsizing. Guys with withered huebos get zillions for shrinking their companies.]
    The move cedes much of the market for corporate networks to Cisco Systems Inc. "We simply cannot afford to have large businesses in the undesirable part of the charts for very long," Eric A. Benhamou, 3Com's chairman and chief executive said....
    ["Simply" is the operative term. Simple excuses for strategy by suicidal swarms of CEO lemmings. More examples? Check out *NetSlaves.com. "Simply cannot...." Why not? These businesses are still growing - they're just "slower-growing." "Why not?" has only one answer - short term thinking. Like children who need instant gratification, or the day traders who have taken over the stock markets, today's CEOs have become speculators with only one term - the short term. Remember "live each day as if it were your last but plan as if you had forever"? These clowns have forgotten the planning part, and that will eventually make the first part a self-fulfilling prophecy.]
    "We will start from a smaller base, but that base represents the highest growth...."
    [You're not starting. You're shrinking from where you were. Face it.]
    "....Being bigger by itself is not necessarily about being better," [said Bruce Claflin, 3Com's CEO].
    [No, but throwing 2500-3000 units of the overall American consumer base into income insecurity is necessarily about being worse, because of the lag involved in the restoration of predictability to their lives and spending patterns, and because of the simple volume of companies who are practicing this kind of "neutron bomb" economics. No wonder wages have been flat for 30 years. No wonder the astronomical profits of the accelerating waves of work-saving technology have accrued to the top income brackets the last 30 years. No wonder there's been nowhere else for this few people to put this much money except the financial markets. No wonder the financial markets have inflated into such a classic Bubble, with nowhere the decentralized massive consumer strength that their exponentiating productivity requires. "Money's like manure," said Will Rogers, "It's no good unless it's spread around." But with this weak a workforce, undermined by decades of work-saving technology and 15 years of robotization without corresponding cuts in our 1940-era, 40-hour workweek, there's no way we can avoid another crisis of over-production and under-consumption (= depression) introduced by the most desperate casual-consumption stimulation attempts (commercials, junkmail, spam, telephone marketing, slamming...) in history. Time to start the UNdistortion with Timesizing, Not Downsizing.
    [The following week there is a follow-up story -]
    3/28 3Com begins layoffs at Marlborough [Mass.] plant, by Ross Kerber, Boston Globe, E9.
    ...Santa Clara, Calif.-based..\..3Com Corp. said it plans to lay off as many as 275 employees from its facilities in Marlborough as part of a broad reorganization. 3Com said it currently has 1,125 employees in Marlborough as part of its Network Systems business unit.... The unit had focused on sales to large businesses, but...3Com has lost out in that market to competitor Cisco Systems Inc. Now the bulk of the employees in Marlborough will become part of 3Com's "Business Networks Group" and will focus on sales to smaller businesses. 3Com began notifying employees in Marlborough whose jobs will be eliminated. Those employees will remain with the company for about 60 days and will receive up to 12 weeks of severance pay based on their length of employment.... 3Com said last week it expects to take a charge of up to $300m related to the layoffs. Local employees will also have the chance to apply for 125 3Com positions in Massachusetts.... Overall, the company said it is shedding 2,700 positions out of a total of 11,800. About 1,700 of the employees to leave 3Com will be transferred to some of the company's business partners. 3Com said its facilities in Andover...won't be affected by the restructuring.

  2. KLM to cut 2,700 jobs, AP via NYT, C2.
    The national airline of the Netherlands, KLM Royal Dutch Airlines, plans to shed...7.9% of its work force, under a plan aimed at cutting costs and restoring profitability. The measures are intended to offset rising fuel costs, declining capacity and cheaper air fares, which resulted in an operating loss of $30m in the latest quarter. The jobs will be eliminated in the next 12 months through forced job cuts and attrition. The company employs 34,000 people worldwide.
3/20/2k  1 weekend downsizing report - 3/18/2k  2 downsizings reported, totaling 6675 lost jobs -
  1. Bank One plans to cut work force by 5,100 jobs, Bloomberg via NYT, B3.
    [Another installment in the 95,000 jobs cut in the banking industry alone from 1995-2000? - or are we over that estimate by now?]
    ...The nation's 4th largest \bank\ said yesterday that it would eliminate...about 5.6% of its work force to reduce costs as [it] struggles to raise earnings and its share price.
    [And then, just to see how much ordinary Americans will take before they yell "We're mad as hell and we're not going to take it any more!" -]
    The bank also said it gave its chairman and chief executive, John B. McCoy, a $10.3 million severance payment and a $3 million annual pension when he resigned in December after profit problems. The Chicago-based bank...disclosed the extent of the cuts along with Mr. McCoy's severance agreement in its annual report filed with the SEC....
    [So where are the boasted "good incentives" of capitalism? All this incentivates is "screw up and get rich." When a system loses its raison d'etre, it's just a matter of time....]

  2. Universal Leaf Tobacco to close 5 plants, Bridge News via NYT, B3.
    ...A [Richmond, Va.-based] subsidiary of the Universal Corp., the world's largest buyer and processor of leaf tobacco..\..said yesterday that it was shutting 5 plants and laying off 175 full-time employees and a further 1,400 seasonal workers because of expectations for a smaller crop, problems caused by Hurricane Floyod as well as "unprecedented political and legal attacks" on the industry.... Universal is closing its leaf-processing operation in Rocky Mount, NC, which has been shut since Sept. 1999 because of flood damage caused by Hurricane Floyd. It will also shut extruder operations [there and] in Lexington, Ky, Bowling Green, Ky [and] Lumberton, NC....
    [Tough to lose the jobs but... it's just as well to wean the job market away from producing harmful stuff.]
3/17/2k  2 possible downsizings reported, numbers unspecified -
  1. Peterbilt Motors Co., NYT, C4.
    ...Denton, Tex., which builds 10% of the nation's semi-trailer tractors, said it was reducing daily production to 50 trucks a day from 70 and might lay off workers because of rising gas prices.<
    [This is "Depression Alert" lingo again - "reducing production" means a current situation of overproduction and underconsumption.]P>
  2. Reflection on the decline of British cars, by Cowell, with Sorkin, NYT, C5.
    (re: "BMW will shed Rover, selling sport utility vehicle line to Ford," C1)
    For decades now, the British automotive industry has been a story of British ownership dwindling as foreigners snapped up the marques from the proudest Jaguars and Bentleys to the humblest Mini. Today, there were a few extra twists, most remarkably that a British venture capital company might be paid to take over this country's most troubled auto plant.... Rover's money-losing Longbridge plant outside Birmingham [otherwise known as Brumajum or Old Brum]...is to be acquired by...Alchemy Partners. The twist...was that BMW was ready to "gift-wrap" the disposal of the Longbridge plant. Alchemy Partners is pressing for BMW to pay it up to $1B in net assets and a cash sweetener to take the plant, free of debt. In addition, Alchemy Partners...has $1.6B in assets under management on behalf of 35 institutional investors.... Those funds will be directed in part at reducing Longbridge's work force and possibly disposing of part of the sprawling plant that German [aka Jerry] newspapers call "The English Patient" [movie title] because of its losses and low productivity....
    [What an investment! Reducing a workforce! And there are repercussions... tomorrow's Times (3/18) mentions them in blowout titled "Rover workers fear for their jobs," B1 -]
    Many of the 9,000 employees at the Rover mfg plant in Longbridge...fear that they will lose their jobs now that BMW has sold the plant. The reverberations extended also to the 50,000 people who depend on the auto industry for their livelihood in the region, which was once the heart of the British auto industry....
3/16/2k  3 downsizings reported, totaling 2039 jobcuts -
  1. Federal-Mogul plans to cut 1,500 jobs and close plants, AP via NYT, C4.
    ...An auto parts company said yesterday that it would close 25 North American work sites...to try to improve its bottom line.
    [Amazing how many companies think they can improve their bottom line by downsizing jobs-payroll-consumerspending and worsening the economy's bottom line!]
    In addition to shutting 23 warehouses and 2 factories, the company plans to make changes at 19 other sites in North and South America and consolidate 18 manufacturing and distribution operations in Europe and Asia. The company has 170 plants worldwide. The changes will cut Federal-Mogul's global work force of 50,400 employees by about 3%.... Shares fell....
    [Funny how the "invisible hand" is still taken seriously in economics. In ecology, envirnomentalists had the sense to start by exposing the "tragedy of the commons" - the frequently experienced fact that when everybody who wanted to could set loose their cows on the town's common pasture ("commons"), the commons turned into an environmental disaster. The idea that firms can downsize indefinitely without downsizing the whole economy is like "oh towns can pollute this river indefinitely without hurting the river, or the fisheries at its mouth, or the ocean beyond." "But we have low unemployment!" Well there's the same amount of water coming down the river as before, isn't there, - but what's in it? - less and less.]

  2. Sunbeam to close a plant, Bloomberg via NYT, C14.
    ...The largest U.S. maker of small appliances said today that it would close a Mr. Coffee factory near Cleveland and dismiss the plant's 339 employees to cut costs. The Glenwillow, Ohio plant is scheduled to be closed in June, with production and distribution moved to plants in Hattiesburg, Miss., and Matamoros, Mexico....
    [Cain't y'all jess hear "thet giant sucking sound" as American jobs get hoovered across the border into Mexico? These folks better "git dey butts" over to East Cleveland and turn in a job application with Lincoln Electric, a futuristic company that squeezes and unsqueezes its workweek instead of its workforce.]
    The workers represent 2.8% of the company's work force of 12,000, Sunbeam has been unprofitable for two years.
    [Yeah, ever since "Chainsaw" Dunlap made it "more efficient."]

  3. Wausau-Mosinee Paper Corp., NYT, C4.
    ...Mosinee, Wis., a maker of specialty paper products, said it would close the Sorg Paper Co. plant in Middletown, Ohio, and cut 200 jobs.
    [Whew, for a second there, we thought it was Moosonee, Ont., a community that would be completely wiped out by this "small" layoff. Well, a few more resumes headed Lincoln Electric's way.]
3/15/2k  1 downsizing reported, totaling 125 jobcuts - 3/14/2k  1 downsizing reported, totaling 800 jobcuts - 3/13/2k  1 weekend downsizing reported, totaling less than 50 jobcuts - 3/11/2k  2 downsizings reported, totaling 1820 jobcuts -
  1. Belfast shipyard loses bid to build Queen Mary 2, and many jobs, by Alan Cowell, NYT, C1.
    The Belfast shipyard that gave the world the brief splendour of the Titanic was itself foundering today with the jobs of more than 1,700 workers in jeopardy after it lost to a French rival in bidding to build the Queen Mary 2, billed in advance as the world's most prestigious ocean liner.
    [We guarantee you two things.  1. Queen Mary herself is turning in her grave. That any ship named after her should be built in a French shipyard is a disgrace.  2. The British will probably nickname this monster the "Marie Antoinette" and snub her. No Englishman worth his salt will travel on her. Her "prestige," if any, will derive entirely from American nouveau riche.]
    The Harland & Wolff shipyard, founded 138 years ago, at one time ranked among the world's prolific shipbuilders, with its work force reaching a peak of 35,000 in the 1950's. During World War II, it built a ship a week - 140 naval vessels and 140 merchantmen. But today, with its order books all but empty, the shipyard faced possible closing after the Cunard Line, owned by the Carnival Corp. of Miami...
    [There was the first mistake - to sell a traditional British company to a "who cares" foreign firm.]
    ...announced that it had agreed on a $700m contract to build the Queen Mary 2 with Chantiers de l'Atlantique, a subsidiary of the engineering conglomerate Alstom SA of France.... On Wednesday, [Harland & Wolff's] chief executive...notified the shipyard's 1,745 workers that they could be laid off in 90 days, sending a chill through the Northern Ireland economy and deepening the gloom in the British-administered province from the failure to date of attempts at reconciliation and self-government....

  2. Omega Protein Corp., NYT, B3.
    ...Houston, the largest U.S. maker of fish oil and fish meal, said it would cut 75 jobs at a Louisiana plant and use fewer fishing vessels after reporting a 4th-quarter loss.
3/10/2k  3 downsizings reported, totaling 9,045 jobcuts -
  1. Boeing may lay off 5,000; strike to hurt earnings, AP via Boston Globe, C2.
    Boeing Co. told federal regulators it may cut another 5,000 workers this year [2.63%] as part of its continuing downsizing, and added that the strike by engineers and technical workers [pressing for guaranteed bonuses and a benefits package that does not include higher health insurance payments] could slow aircraft deliveries through this summer, affecting earnings. A document filed with the SEC said Boeing should wind up with 180,000-190,000 employees at the end of the year, compared with an earlier target of 185,000-195,000 announced 6 months ago. Most of the jobs will be trimmed through attrition and reorganization, the company said....

  2. FleetBoston to lay off 4,000 in wake of merger, Bloomberg via Bos Globe, C5.
    [Here we go! The merger-downsizing link again and not in agriculture, not in manufacturing, but in services (banking) whither everyone is fleeing for jobs.]
    FleetBoston Financial Corp. said it will fire 4,000 workers, or about 6.7% of its staff, to cut costs after the company was created in a $13B merger last year, the bank disclosed in a regulatory filing. The Boston-based bank said it will notify most of the employees to be fired by Sept. 30, and that 78% of them will leave in the first 9 months of this year, with the rest by the end of 2000.... New England's largest bank with about 60,000 employees said most of the firings will be the result of eliminating job overlap created in the merger....
    [So, less competition, more job overlap and soon, fewer jobs and earnings and markets. What good are regulators except to sit on their hands and receive "filings" about the destruction of our economy and our society's future?]
    Of those to be fired, about 14% are in global banking and financial services, about 15% are in commercieal and retail banking, about 1% in the national consumer group and the remaining 70% in support units, the bank said in its annual report, filed with the US SEC. In 1999, FleetBoston spent $952m on merger-related restructuring and integration costs.... Of those charges, the bank spent $357m on severance and outplacement services for the fired employees.
    While the bank will save money on salaries by firing employees, it will [lose] $160m...each year in net income because the merger is forcing [it] to sell branches [totaling] $13B in deposits to satisfy regulators who want to ensure no bank has a monopoly in New England.
    [What a joke. If they really wanted that, they'd have blocked the merger. The merged bank is by far the biggest bank in New England.]
    Sovereign Bancorp of Wyomissing, Pa., is buying 285 of those branches with deposits of $12B, and has said it will keep the 2,500 employees in those offices....
    [This yoyo mgmt is what they're calling "efficiency"? This is nothing but money wasting by CEOs with testosterone poisoning .]

  3. Global Marine Inc., NYT, C4.
    ...Houston, the 2nd-largest U.S. oil drilling company, said it would take a charge of about $3.6m in the first quarter to pay for office closings and 45 job cuts.
3/09/2k  1 downsizing reported, totaling 16,000 jobcuts - 3/08/2k  1 downsizing reported, totaling 100 jobcuts - 3/04/2k  4 downsizings reported, totaling 600 jobcuts + unspecified -
  1. Timken, bearings maker, to cut 600 jobs worldwide [3%], Dow Jones via NYT, B3.
    ...A maker of bearings and steel alloy products said yesterday that it planned to cut 600 jobs worldwide because of overcapacity and lower prices for its products. The Canton, Ohio company has been struggling for the last year because of weaker demand for its products worldwide.... The latest round of jobcuts follows the elimination of 1,700 positions in 1998 and 1999. The company has 21,000 workers worldwide, including 13,000 in the United States.
    ["Weaker demand" is a frequent phrase in the newspapers of 1929-1930.]

  2. Dominion Resources is set to begin a restructuring, Reuters via NYT, B3.
    ...said yesterday that it would reorganize into 3 business units and cut workers to integrate the assets of the recently acquired Consolidated Natural Gas Co. with its own traditional electric power operations [meaning coal? hydro?...]. The company said it had begun to consolidate systems, eliminate overlap and reduce the size of its work force....
    [Again the workforce&markets-destroying effects of mergers&acquisitions. We may be getting more "efficient" but what good will that be if there are too few markets, because there are too few people still employed?]

  3. Wal-Mart Stores Inc.,, NYT, B3.
    ...Bentonville, Ark., the nation's biggest retailer, is closing meat-cutting operations at 180 stores in six states.

  4. Claire's Stores Inc.,, NYT, B3.
    ...Pembroke Pines, Fla., a retailer of accessories and jewelry for teenagerss, said it expected to close 60 stores in the next two months.
3/02/2k  2 more downsizings reported, totaling 900 jobcuts -
  1. Parexel [International] cuts 500 jobs because of lost contract, Bloomberg via NYT, C4.
    ...A drug research company in Waltham, Mass., said yesterday that it would cut as many as 500 jobs and it lowered its earnings estimates through 2001 because Novartis A.G. had canceled a contract.... The cancellation by Novartis, the world's 3rd-largest drugmaker, will cause Parexel's clinical-research unit to have reduced revenue and earnings. Novartis canceled the contract because of changes in its drugs in research....

  2. [Again, the fatal takeover-downsizing linkage -]
    Weyerhaeuser will close four packaging plants, Dow Jones via NYT, C4.
    ...A timber and paper company based in Federal Way, Wash. [with] 45,000 workers..\..said yesterday that it planned to close four packaging plants as it consolidated operations after its January acquisition of MacMillan Bloedel Ltd. The plants - in Cleveland; Houston; Jersey City; and Rock Is., Ill. - have 400 employees [0.888·%]. Weyerhaeuser said it would offer severance packages and job placement services to the workers.... The closings are intended to cut excess corrugated box capacity from Weyerhaeuser's packaging plant system.
3/01/2k  2 downsizings reported, totaling 10,300 jobcuts -
  1. ABB Alstom [Power] to cut jobs, Agence France-Presse via NYT, C4.
    ...A multinational power generation company announced a worldwide restructuring that would eliminate about 10,000 jobs from its 54,000-strong work force [18.5%], including 5400 jobs in Europe. About 25 sites worldwide could be affected, according to the company, which operates in more than 100 countries. ...The company said the cutback was necessary because of a "40% decline over the past two years of a market for conventional power stations." ABB Alstom Power was created through a merger between the French-British company Alstom and Swiss-Swedish company Asea Brown Boveri.
    [Another 10,000 casualties of the mindless takeover frenzy of our stupid managerial class, who have no thought about where they're going to find markets in the longer term as they concentrate skills and work on ever fewer people by obsoletely long workweeks, inrushing technology, and relentless workforce reduction. "Oh they'll find new jobs in this boom." Sure, somewhere, sometime, at some wage in a situation where wealth is being concentrated beyond spendability, in a boom that is therefore inherently temporary.]

  2. Wallace Computer Services to cut plants and jobs, Dow Jones via NYT, C4.
    ...Based in Lisle, Ill., [a provider of] computer services and supplies..\..said yesterday that it would close four plants and cut its work force by more than 300. Wallace will close unprofitable commercial printing plants in Cleveland, Tampa...and Miami in the next 2-3 weeks. It will phase out a multiple-use plant in Lebanon, Ky., over the next months....

Click here for downsizing stories in Feb/2000.
Click here for downsizing stories in Jan/2000.
Click here for downsizing stories in Dec/1999.
Click here for downsizing stories in Nov/99.
Click here for downsizing stories in Oct/99.
Click here for downsizing stories in Sept/99.
Click here for downsizing stories Aug.16-31/99.
Click here for downsizing stories Aug.1-15/99.
Click here for downsizing stories in July/99.
Click here for downsizing stories in May-Jun/99.
Click here for downsizing stories in Mar-Apr/99.
Click here for downsizing stories in Jan-Feb/99.
Click here for downsizing stories in December/98.
Click here for downsizing stories in November/98.
Click here for downsizing stories in October/98.
Click here for downsizing stories prior to Sept. 30/98.

For more details, our laypersons' guide to our great economic future Timesizing, Not Downsizing is available at bookstores in Harvard Square, Cambridge, Mass. or from *Amazon.com online.

Questions, comments, feedback? Phone 617-623-8080 (Boston) or email us.

Return to Top | Return to Home Page