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Bobcat Co. to suspend production

West Fargo-based Bobcat Co. plans to shut down its production plants in Gwinner, N.D., and Bismarck for several days this month and in July.

Production will be suspended at the Gwinner plant June 10-12, 24-26 and 29 due to current economic conditions, Laura Ness Owens, public relations manager, said Wednesday.

Bobcat's Bismarck plant will suspend production June 10-12 and July 6-10, she said.

The work suspension primarily involves factory personnel, Owens said.

Due to competitive reasons, she could not say how many workers will be affected, Owens said.

The Gwinner factory also will be closed July 6-10 for annual maintenance, not as a production suspension, she said.

The company manufactures skid-steer loaders, mini-excavators, utility vehicles and attachments.

In April, Bobcat laid off about 250 hourly and salaried workers at both plants due to reduced worldwide demand for its products.

Bobcat employs about 2,000 people in North Dakota but not all are factory production employees, she said.

Owens said she could not verify if affected employees will receive any type of severance or unemployment benefits.

Marty Aas, Fargo manager for Job Services North Dakota, said laid-off workers may be eligible for unemployment benefits depending on how many days per week they actually work.

Dave Kemnitz, president of the North Dakota AFL-CIO in Bismarck, said he hadn't heard details yet of what's happening at North Dakota's two Bobcat plants.

"I guess it all has to do with the work orders," he said. "If they're not confident of selling it, they're not going to build it."

Officials with United Steelworkers Union 560 in Gwinner could not be reached for comment Wednesday.