On Monday, Oct. 1, 2018, 60 plus workers arrived at their place of work at Hitachi Automotive Systems of the Americas in Monroe to find that they no longer have a job. Javier Montalvo, vice president of Human Resources at the plant, said that the workers were let go as a result of a global restructuring that is taking place at the company to keep pace with changes in the automotive industry.
“Hitachi did do a small reduction in force – 60 plus people were let go as a result of the restructuring and transformation that is taking place in the automotive industry,” Montalvo said. “Sales have plateaued and everything is switching to electrification. Hybrids are becoming more popular so the reorganization was necessary so Hitachi can continue to be a major player in the industry.”
A similar layoff at the Hitachi Automotive Systems of the Americas plant at Harrodsburg in Kentucky on Monday resulted in the loss of about 100 jobs and Hitachi Headquarters in Japan announced personnel changes on Oct. 1 in its Automotive Systems division.
“It is a global restructuring and realignment of the company,” Montalvo said, confirming that was a reduction in certain positions in all sites. Hitachi is the largest manufacturing employer in Walton County with some 1200 employees before the layoffs. Montalvo said the layoffs don’t change that and the company will continue to hire new employees going forward.
“(In Monroe), a little less than 70 employees were offered severance packages and continued benefits and health care,” Montalvo said. “And all are eligible to be re-hired in a different position and we are already having employees that are re-applying. I still have jobs that are posted. They are direct jobs where we need the people to make the products. Some started as direct workers and they are welcome to re-apply for the direct jobs that are posted on the Internet. Those folks will have first preference.”
Montalvo said Hitachi is still looking at continued growth and the restructuring is part of the necessary path to take in order to reach that goal. He said the company will need to increase investment in future products to keep up with the transformation in the industry.
Hitachi Automotive Systems Americas, Inc., is a subsidiary of Hitachi America, Ltd., which manufactures, remanufactures and markets automotive systems including engine management systems, electric power train systems, drive control systems and car information systems for all major automotive original equipment manufacturers and aftermarket customers worldwide. The company opened its plant in Monroe in 1996, expanding operations in 2014 and continuing expansion until it reached, and retains, the distinction of being the largest manufacturing employer in the county.