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Fargo CNH plant facing temporary layoffs

FARGO - The president of a local machinists union says Case-New Holland - Fargo's largest manufacturing employer - is planning temporary layoffs during the next four months.

But when contacted Thursday by The Forum, plant manager Erik Olson said he had no idea about such reports and hung up the phone.

Two subsequent phone messages to Olson were not returned by early Thursday evening.

Chris Skeldum, the president of the International Association of Machinists, said the plant plans 10 weeks of temporary layoffs spread over four months, although most of the construction equipment workers affected apparently will be shifted to the plant's tractor line.

The planned layoffs are in response to slack demand for construction equipment made at the plant, he said.

Demand for tractors made in Fargo remains strong, so there are opportunities for workers on the construction equipment side to switch to the tractor line, Skeldum said.

He said it's impossible to say how many workers will be affected.

More than 600 people work on the assembly lines at the plant, making about 20 different types of front-end loaders and farm equipment.

Skeldum said the company has been "pretty straightforward and honest" with employees about what's going on.