Whirlpool executives will meet with state officials this (Thursday) afternoon in Des Moines to talk about the future of the Maytag plant in Newton. Governor Tom Vilsack says the state will offer a “significant” package of incentives to try to keep Whirlpool from closing the plant, but he isn’t revealing the details beforehand.
The governor says he and other officials will stress the productivity of the Newton-area workforce and the city’s commitment to the plant, and the state will offer “significant resources behind an effort to make that company competitive” in the worldwide appliance industry.
“Our hope is that that will be persuasive as they look at making some serious and some tough corporate decisions,” Vilsack says. Vilsack adds, however, that he sees some unfairness in what Maytag’s production-line workers face. “There is an inherent unfairness in the current situation where Whirlpool successfully purchases a brand and a global market opportunity; shareholders of Maytag are paid a premium for their company and their stock; the C.E.O. of Maytag received a significant retirement package; the unsuccessful bidder for Maytag — Ripplewood — gets $40 million and the workers have to struggle to keep their jobs,” Vilsack says.
“It’s not right.” Today’s meeting in Des Moines is scheduled to begin at one o’clock. Whirlpool made its bid to acquire Maytag final about a month ago but executives of the Michigan-based company have not said what they plan to do with Maytag’s facilities in Newton.