Western Electric Co. will eliminate 2,300 jobs at its Baltimore plant during the next year, company officials said yesterday.
A spokesman for Western Electric, the manufacturing arm of American Telephone & Telegraph Co., said it was possible the cut could presage eventual closing of the company's entire Baltimore works, which employs 4,800 persons.
Baltimore, beset by layoffs at Bethlehem Steel and General Motors, had unemployment of 10.6 percent in the city and 8.9 percent for the metropolitan area in November. In metropolitan Baltimore, 96,025 were out of work in November, the latest month for which figures are available.
About 6,700 workers throughout Western Electric will be affected by an overall reduction, which includes closing a plant in Kearny, N.J., and cutting the work force at a plant in Cicero, Ill.
Western Electric said it would shift manufacture of cable connectors and protectors from Baltimore to a plant in Omaha.The 2,300 jobs affected by the move would be eliminated through layoffs or attrition, although a spokesman said Western Electric hopes to be able to transfer some of the workers to other plants.
The other 2,500 workers in Baltimore, where wires, cables and cords used in Western Electric telephones and telecommunications equipment are made, would not be affected by the cuts, the spokesman said. But he would not rule out the possibility of future reductions in the plant's employment rolls because of Western Electric's low production levels.