May 9, 2007

Imation Putting The Hurt To Wahpeton

Imation is closing its diskette manufacturing plant at Wahpeton, NO. The plant employs 390 people in the Twin Cities area which includes Wahpeton , NO and Breckenridge, MN. According to the Wahpeton City web site the Twin Cities area has a total population of approx. 13,000 and the lay offs represent 3%.

At the plants peak, when it was operated by its previous owner 3M, it had a staff of 900. Imation purchased this 3M division in 2002 and has been cutting staff, from a high of 800 in 2002 to its present employment of 390.

The Imation plant is featured on the
Economic Development Section of the Wahpeton City web site and the picture above is copied from there.

From the
Daily News article (no author given) the company will offer all impacted employees Imation’s standard separation package:

“The package included a minimum of 60 days notice or 60 days pay in lieu of notice or a severance in exchange for signing a general release of claims. The severance package includes one week of base pay for each year of credited service (with a minimum of four weeks and a maximum of 26 weeks); an additional cash payment that can be used for payment of COBRA premiums; outplacement assistance; and an automatic vesting of Cash Balance Pension Plan.”

Also from the
Daily News article, Breckenridge Mayor Cliff Barth puts a positive spin to the announcement at a City Council meeting:

“That’s a huge hit for a small community,… The best news is they are going to try and fill those buildings and businesses.”

But don’t feel too sad for Imation, from their press releases on April 19, 2007:

“Imation Reports Q1 2007 Revenue of $421.9 Million, up 25.9%”

Also released on April 19:

“Imation Board Authorizes Repurchase of up to 5 Million Shares of Common Stock”

That plant would make a great home for some of these businesses that are sending jobs overseas.