Governor Tom Vilsack says he talked today with Tim Collins — the C-E-O of the New York company that’s buying the Newton-based appliance maker Maytag. He says he was impressed with his conversation because he says Collins is interested in making Maytag a success all over the world, which Vilsack says suggests there might be more, not less opportunity for Maytag if the plan succeeds. Vilsack says he was also impressed that Collins says he’s aware of the stress and concern this situation creates for Maytag employees. He says, “There was a recognition of the importance of developing a trusting relationship with the working families that have devoted so much to Maytag. And, so I think that this is a positive beginning.” Vilsack says he’s also talked with union leaders at Maytag. He says, “They are very understanding and very appreciative of the circumstances and the competitive nature of today’s economy. But what they really need is a very specific understanding of the future plans for the company, uh, if they’re being asked to sacrifice or adjust, or to change, they need to know that it’s going to be in the context of something that has a chance of success.” The Governor was asked if they talked about the plans for Maytag. He says not specifically. But he says he’s met Collins before, and he says the company has hired former U.S. Representative Dick Gephardt to talk strategy about the impact on working families and how that impact can be adjusted. He says it’s the first time in conversations he’s had with companies that someone has said they hired someone to reach out to laborers in a sincere way. Vilsack made his comments at a signing for a bill that provides a sales tax exemption for nonprofit agencies that build homes for low-income families.
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