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Swiss Colony cuts shift
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MONROE - Swiss Colony announced a restructuring plan Friday that will eliminate one shift and lay off 18 people.

The plan eliminated the third-shift bakery operations, and led to reassignment for 41 employees, public relations manager Sheila Berrey said. There are 207 full-time employees in the bakery operation, 59 of whom work on the third-shift.

The majority of employees from third-shift were offered alternative positions on second shift, Berrey said. However, 18 positions from the third-shift were eliminated.

"Employees who are unable to transfer or lost their positions in the transition will be offered a severance program," Berrey said. They also have the option to apply for any available full-time or temporary positions in the company, she added.

Berrey said this was the first time in the company's history that it eliminated a production shift.

Swiss Colony hopes the move will create a more efficient bakery operation while continuing to support the anticipated food gift demands for 2009 and into the future, the company said in its press release.

Swiss Colony president and chief financial officer John Baumann said economic conditions have led to a decrease in overall sales within the food gift mail-order and wholesale business.

"As a result, we simply do not have the sales to support three shifts of production within the bakery," Baumann said.

He said he hopes the restructuring is a short-term trend but said the company needed to make changes to help it be competitive in the future.

The company doesn't intend any additional layoffs.