The John Deere plant in Fuquay-Varina, which makes commercial golf course and turf mowers, will shut down for one-week periods in August, September and October to save on production and salary costs.
The unplanned vacation, however, will make it tougher for workers to cover their mortgages and car payments, but the company contends, it could be worse.
"We're just reacting to the market," said John Deere spokesman Bill Klutho. "The market has been unusually flat this year."
Klutho says despite a 27-percent jump in overall second quarter earnings, cold, wet weather slowed orders for the line of mowers the Fuquay-Varina plant manufactures.
The plan partially relies on seasonal workers who are losing their temporary jobs, but Wednesday's announcement affects permanent production line employees.
"Obviously, it 's not painless for people, but we're trying to make it as easy as we can for them," Klutho said.
Still, Fuquay-Varina Mayor John Byrne keeps a positive outlook after another manufacturer, Guilford Mills, announced in April that it was permanently laying off 130 workers. Despite the temporary shutdown, Byrne sees a brighter future for Deere.
"I think you really have to look at the bigger picture and the John Deere commitment to Fuquay-Varina," Byrne said.
Despite some employees' concerns that the temporary shutdown could lead to permanent layoffs, Klutho said that would not happen.
"That is not in the cards at all," he said.
John Deere will give workers the option of using their vacation time during the shutdown.
Although this is the first closing at the Fuquay plant, Deere has made similar temporary shutdowns at other facilities.
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