Twenty jobs lost as Snap-On Tools combines management

By Abby Morris
Star Staff
amorris@starhq.com

   Changes in management, and the merging of the Elizabethton and Johnson City facilities of Snap-On Tools, Inc., has eliminated 20 jobs, a Snap-On Tools spokesman said Wednesday.
   "We informed salary employees on Tuesday morning that there would be a combining of staff," said Rick Secor, a spokesman for Snap-On's corporate office. Secor said only salaried staff have been affected by merging management and office personnel at the company's two area facilities.
   Company officials met with hourly employees on Wednesday to explain what the change would involve.
   Kevin McDonald, a previous manager of the Johnson City facility, has been promoted to Tennessee Manufacturing Site Manager, a newly formed company position. McDonald said the planning process for the merger of the two facilities began in early December.
   According to Secor, the decision to combine the two staffs came as a corporate attempt to improve operation of the facilities and the company's product. "It's really the result of the need to reduce the cost structure, improve the efficiency of the facilities, and improve customer service," he said. "It was about eliminating redundancies among the management and support staff, the cost of which cannot be passed on to customers."
   Members of management and support staff were given the option of volunteering to have their positions eliminated, according to Secor, who added that four employees opted for termination.
   Though teams of both facilities have merged, each plant will maintain its own office, according to McDonald. He speculated that management and staff may split their time between the two facilities, but exactly how that will occur is not yet known.
   Some Snap-On employees who work in production have expressed concern that staff reductions may not stop with the combination of the management and staff teams.
   "It will eventually make its way down to the hourly employees," one employee stated on condition of anonymity.
   An employee of the Elizabethton plant expressed concern over the process of elimination. "They are letting people go who have been there 14 and 15 years." The employee said she heard that more terminations may be coming.
   Secor refused to comment on whether hourly employees may be terminated as part of the plan to reorganize the two facilities.
   "We do not comment on rumors," he said, adding that the staff merger dealt only with salaried employees who were part of management or support staff.
   McDonald and Tony Patanella, human resources director, said that many rumors have circulated and they want to dispel them. "We want the truth to be known," said McDonald.