Hurd Windows to Cut 103 Employees

Almost 40 percent of the employees at Hurd Windows & Doors in Merrill, Wis., were informed that they will lose their jobs on December 11 and that the job losses would be permanent.

About 270 employees work for the two Hurd facilities in Merrill.

The company named the three influencing factors behind the layoff as the declining shift in residential building and a drop in privately-owned housing starts in August, Hurd's short-term and long-term product development plans and the commitment of resources to development and engineering of product offerings for new segments.

"There is no denying that our company's wagon is directly hitched to the performance of the U.S. housing industry," said general manager, Dominic Truniger. "When less building permits are issued, on top of a decline in building starts, it can only translate to one economic factor…less demand."

Truniger explained, "In order to secure the organization's longevity, we must be able to not just sustain, but grow our current position as the preeminent and prominent window and door provider. To do that, we must have the right product for the correct market segments, and realigning resources is a necessary course in accomplishing and maintaining this goal."

In spite of the slide in housing starts, an integral element in achieving Hurd's growth plans resulted in the recent completion of a new 200,000-square-foot production facility located in Ohio. The operation will enable the company to expand its vinyl product line that will cater to the new construction and remodeling sectors.

"The vinyl window and door niche is an area Hurd has made significant progress in, and quite frankly, it needs to be one of our critical areas of focus. The new plant will ultimately have a great impact on the overall success of Hurd and all its employees," said Truniger.

The news comes more than a year after employees at the Merrill and Medford facilities went on strike over what they called unfair labor practices. A federal agency later ruled the complaint filed by the union employees had merit, and the striking employees all were offered their jobs back.

The company announced in June that it was closing one of its three Merrill facilities. About 50 of those employees who worked at the Thomas Street plant transferred in September to the Prospect Avenue plant.

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