If there is any question about why newspapers and television stations should think twice before printing or airing news releases verbatim, all you have to do is consider the release issued Monday by the Whirlpool Corporation from its Benton Harbor, Mich., headquarters.
The suggested headline read, "New Refrigerated Factory in Mexico to Become Operational in 2006." The release notes that Whirlpool invested $250 million in the facility, which is not Mexican, but North American.
In the third paragraph, Whirlpool officials begin touting some of the good things that have happened to the company in the past year, including updating at its plants in Clyde, Ohio, Marion, Ohio, Fort Smith, Ark., Monterrey, Mexico, and Ramos Arizpe, Mexico. In fact, this new refrigerator factory that the company is touting will hire 1,000 workers when it is fully operational.
Nowhere in the news release does Whirlpool mention anything about hiring new workers in the United States. In fact, buried deep within the release is the information about how this change will affect the Fort Smith, Ark. plant. "Once the Ramos Arizpe facility is operational, approximately 730 employees at Whirlpool's Fort Smith, Ark., plant would be part of a layoff, currently planned for October 2006, as some models currently manufactured in Fort Smith would be shifted to the new plant in Mexico. Whirlpool currently anticipates that the vast majority of the layoffs will be voluntary and many of those would be recalled within 18 months, as part of the normal attrition rate at the Fort Smith facility. Since 2003, the Fort Smith facility has hired nearly 800 new employees."
It then continues by noting that the Fort Smith facility has about 4,600 workers, producing exactly the same type of machinery that will be manufactured at Whirlpool's new plant in Mexico.
And almost certainly, Whirlpool's stock will rise in value as more Fort Smith workers are pushed toward the unemployment line, voluntarily, of course.