Little Tikes Co. will shrink its Hudson staff by more than 150 in June when the toy maker eliminates some molding operations to fight the rising cost of materials and energy.
The company's blow and injection molding work will be contracted out to molders in Ohio, Michigan, Pennsylvania and probably Indiana, according to Little Tikes spokeswoman Jean Rupar. No specific companies have been selected yet to take up the work.
A March 28 news release said the move will affect about 160 employees, but Rupar said it is not known exactly how many jobs will be cut. About 875 employees work at the plant.
``They'll go through the preference process, and there will be natural attrition,'' Rupar said. ``We won't know really until mid-April how many positions will be affected.''
The announcement marks the second round of cuts this year for Little Tikes, which laid off 22 employees in January.
``These decisions are always a last resort,'' Little Tikes President David Reed said in a statement, ``and we carefully considered all alternatives ... before ultimately coming to this decision.''
Little Tikes is owned by Newell Rubbermaid Inc. of Sandy Springs, Ga.
For most of its 35-year existence, Little Tikes did not do injection and blow molding in Hudson. Those capabilities were added during the past few years when the company brought in equipment from closed plants in Sebring and Wooster, Ohio.
``We had always outsourced [that work] before,'' Rupar said. ``It's a very small amount [of our production].''
Tikes uses injection and blow molding to produce smaller parts, which are often components of bigger, rotomolded toys such as playhouses and kiddie cars. The firm's rotomolding operations will not be affected by the outsourcing action.
Rupar said she did not know how much money the company will save by contracting out the work.