Hundreds of Freightliner employees expected to lose their jobs

Hundreds of Freightliner employees expected to lose their jobs


by TONY BURBECK / NBC Charlotte

Bio | Email | Follow: @TonyWCNC

Posted on January 30, 2013 at 6:39 PM

Updated Tuesday, Oct 29 at 3:22 AM

MOUNT HOLLY, N.C. -- Parent company Daimler Trucks North America says significant layoffs are coming, they're in the process of notifying workers and will release more details in less than 24 hours.

There are three local plants, including Gastonia, the town of Cleveland in Rowan County, and Mount Holly, where some of the largest layoffs are expected.

You can tell shift change time at the Freightliner plant in Mount Holly by the amount of traffic in front of the Circle A Food Store.

"All their shifts come in here," said clerk Mandy Hannah.

First, second and third shift Freightliner employees visit for gas, food and snacks.

"It gets pretty busy," Hannah said.

The number of customers could drop off with hundreds of layoffs.

The ebb and flow of the town coincides in part with Frieghtliner's success.
It is the area's largest employer.

"It could hurt business with that many people being let go," Hannah said.

"I have a couple of buddies that work up there, a father and son as well as a couple friends," said neighbor Justin Rick, who has also applied to work at Freightliner but did not get hired.

Rick is concerned about his friends and how they'll provide for their families.

"I don't know what they're going to have to do to make ends meet," Rick said.

Unemployment in the area is already close to 10 percent.

"It's going to be rough for them and their families because it's hard nowadays to find a job anywhere, so they’re going to have it rough," Hannah said.

Freightliner cut 2,100 jobs at local plants jobs a few years ago, then added 1,500 in 2011.

The hiring was one reason why President Obama visited the Mt. Holly plant in 2012, where he also touted green energy.

At the time, neighbors say the President's visit put the town on the map and gave them hope of finding work.

Now the concern is so many people going from production lines to the unemployment line.

"You'd think everything would be on the uprise, but it's not that way and it's going to be real sad for a lot of families," said Rick.

For now, the state says it will not be sending a rapid response team to help laid off employees file for unemployment and find work, but that could change.

Daimler isn't commenting about impending layoffs, but is expected to release more information Thursday.