Sunbeam to close part of plant at Neosho

NEOSHO, Mo. -- Sunbeam Corp. will significantly reduce production of barbecue grills at its Neosho plant, a move that could affect 642 jobs, the company said in a letter to employees.

The letter issued Saturday to workers and Neosho officials said that an undetermined number of "employees will be terminated in the period February 2 through February 16, 2002.," the Joplin Globe reported.

Not all 642 affected employees will lose their jobs, company spokesman Mark Baker said. The company is obligated by law to notify all employees that could be affected, though many likely will not, Baker said.

Baker said the Boca Raton-based appliance-maker has not yet determined how many jobs it will cut or by how much production would be trimmed.

"It's all happening as we speak," Baker told The Associated Press. "We've only begun putting a task force in place to look at operations and decide what's going to happen.

"Sunbeam intends to retain the outdoor grill business in Neosho, but operate on a smaller scale," he said.

The plant in Neosho employs 1,100 to 1,200 people during peak production.