101 Orion Bus workers to be let go; shutdown periods also announced

By WKTV News

ORISKANY, N.Y. (WKTV) - More than 100 people were told Monday that they will no longer be Orion Bus employees as of mid-October.

It's the latest local company to announce mass layoffs. One employee told NEWSChannel 2 that the workforce was called into a meeting Monday morning and that's when the layoffs were announced.

They were told that Orion Bus, in Oriskany, will go from manufacturing 18 buses a week to 13.

In addition to the layoffs, Orion will also have two shut down periods. The first will run from November 29th through January 3rd. Another four week shut down will happen next summer.

In September, the United Auto Workers agreed upon a three year contact with Orion Bus.

Orion released the following statement addressing the layoffs:

“Addressing market changes in a timely manner is a strategy of Daimler’s ‘Global Excellence’ program that promotes business unit sustainability and future growth,” said Richard O. Ferguson, president and CEO for Daimler Buses North America. “Our forward-looking strategy for Orion is the right approach to address the challenges in the North American transit market.”

“Our plan includes further review and reduction of fixed costs, which includes a hiring freeze on all new non-essential vacant salary positions and a review of all discretionary company outlays. We will continue to invest in new products such as the Allison Hybrid system to ensure that when we come out of this downward business cycle, Orion will be best positioned to meet our transit customers needs,” added Ferguson.

Orion’s revised company program was provided to employees on September 27, 2010 at its Oriskany and Mississauga production facilities. These locations produce Orion buses, the North American transit bus brand of Daimler.

“Over the last several weeks we have been working with Union leadership at both locations devising long-term plans that would impact the least amount of employees. I want to personally thank them for their efforts,” Ferguson said. ”We are mindful the direct impact these decisions will have on our employees.”

With the revision of production numbers Orion buses has to adjust the employment with a layoff of 86 employees in Mississauga and 101 employees in Oriskany. Affected employees will be notified directly on October 1, 2010 with the layoff becoming effective on October 18, 2010.

“Orion’s current production plans are based on historic buying cycles for the transit industry that have been negatively impacted by the global economic crisis as well as decreases in transit riders and fare revenues. These events have contributed directly to the reduced demand experienced this year for new transit bus orders,” added Ferguson.

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