Eastman Kodak plans to cut 80 jobs this month

Local Eastman Kodak Co. employees have been told that about 16 percent of the company’s local work force — about 80 employees — will be laid off this month.

The future of some 500 local Kodak jobs has been uncertain since the Rochester, N.Y.-based company filed for bankruptcy protection last month.

Christopher Veronda, a Kodak spokesman, confirmed Monday that employees were told today that layoffs were coming.

“We are making adjustments to improve profitability of the business,” Veronda said in an e-mail to the Dayton Daily News. “It’s important to remember that Dayton is still the home base for our commercial inkjet business. We do R&D, marketing and manufacturing there.”

The company and observers have said that the company’s commercial inkjet operations at the Miami Valley Research Park in Kettering should be crucial to its future. Employees and contractors work there developing and building commercial inkjet printers, large systems capable of cranking out 4,000 digital-format, photo-quality pages a minute at a cost of less than one cent a page.

Bruce Pearson, president and chief executive for the Miami Valley Research Park, where Kodak operates locally, said he had not heard of layoff plans from the company.

“Mike (Marsh, Kodak’s general manager in Kettering) said they continue to develop product, sell product, ship product,” Pearson said.

When it filed for bankruptcy protection last month, the photography and film pioneer said it had obtained a $950 million debtor-in-possession credit facility with an 18-month maturity from Citigroup to help it continue to operate during bankruptcy proceedings. A bankruptcy court in New York initially approved $650 million of that financing.

Shortly after the filing, Kodak said that it has received permission from the bankruptcy court to pay employees as usual, maintain all “customer programs” and continue to use current cash management systems and bank accounts.

Since last summer, the company has been trying to sell patents in a bid to stay afloat.
No layoff notice or “WARN” (Worker Adjustment Retraining Notice) notice for Kodak could be found on the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services web site Monday afternoon.

Generally, large employers are required to file WARN notices with Ohio government if they plan to lay off 50 or more employees in a 30-day period.

Benjamin Johnson, a spokesman for the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services, said he had not seen a WARN letter or notice from Kodak.

Source: Springfield News Sun