Toyota layoffs shock workers

Reporter: Drew Speier
New Media Producer: Amanda Lents

A 14 News follow-up on the layoffs announced by Toyota's Gibson County plant on Tuesday. That's when 370 "temporary" employees learned they would be losing their jobs.

All of them are with Personnel Management Incorporated of Greenwood, Indiana. PMI provides Toyota with a temporary work force that can be increased or reduced according to demands.

For employees, like Leslie Acord, the news came as a shock, "It's not just 370 people, it's 370 families"

Leslie Acord and her husband are among the 370 employees being laid off at the Toyota plant in Gibson County.

Acord says it's a major loss, "Within an eight hour span, I cried, I was angry, I was complacent and I really didn't care so you go through the grief stages just like you would if you lost something else that was important to you."

Leslie has worked on the assembly line for almost two years. PMI provides Toyota with full-time employees. But they don't get the same pay or benefits as full-time Toyota employees even though they do the same work.

And during job cuts workers, like Acord, are the first to go, "We were 700 strong at one point and now we're 370 because they've whittled it away at both ends of the scale, hire a few here, lay off a bunch there."

That 700 strong will soon be zero. Toyota began trimming it's temporary staff a year ago based in part by a decline in demand for the Sequoia SUV, which is produced at the Gibson County plant.

But when Leslie went to work there she and many others were expecting to eventually be transitioned from the temporary pool of workers, for a full-time position,"There are people in a worse situation than me. There are people who have been here three and a half years that were maybe in the next group that might have gotten hired by Toyota, they're like, now what am I going to do."

So when the news came that she and her husband, who have three young children, would both be losing their jobs by June, it sent them in a professional and personal tailspin, "It's difficult, very difficult."

Some of the laid off employees with Personnel Management Incorporated are being hired at Subaru-Isuzu of America in Lafayette, Indiana. SIA is hiring about 300 new employees because that plant is in the process of making the new Camry Hybrid.