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Peterbilt to have new round of layoffs

Profile image for By Rachel Mehlhaff / Staff Writer
By Rachel Mehlhaff / Staff Writer

Peterbilt Motors Co. will have another round of layoffs but officials are not releasing the exact number.

“We don’t disclose employee numbers for competitive reasons,” said Robin Easton, treasurer of PACCAR, Peterbilt’s parent company.

Easton also would not disclose when the layoffs would go into effect. The company is adjusting production to accommodate a decrease in demand for trucks, he said.

“Monthly orders have been lower over the last few months,” Easton said.

Peterbilt is Denton’s largest private-sector employer with a truck manufacturing plant at 3200 Airport Road.

The company, which is headquartered in Denton, laid off 250 employees in July, Natalie Moffitt, workforce development manager with Workforce Solutions for North Central Texas, wrote in an e-mail Thursday.

Peterbilt also took shutdown days in August to balance production.

Easton said he is not aware of more shutdown days in the future.

Peterbilt has recall rights for a year, which means if it increases production it can go down the recall list and hire people back in order of seniority during those 12 months.

Unless Peterbilt submits a notice under the Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act, the exact number of employees laid off doesn’t have to be disclosed to the city or the state.

Moffitt said the workforce center didn’t receive a WARN notice from Peterbilt.

“An employee from Peterbilt called the workforce center and let us know of the impending layoff,” Moffitt said.

The WARN Act went into effect in February of 1989 and protects “workers, their families and communities by requiring employers to provide notice 60 days in advance of covered plant closings or covered mass layoffs,” according to information from the U.S. Department of Labor.

“Laying off in phases can avoid an employer’s WARN responsibility because they are only required to send a WARN [notice] when they are laying off 100 or more workers,” Moffitt said.

If the company lays off less than 100 employees in each phase but the total number reaches 500 or 33 percent of its workforce and the phases occur within 90 days, the company must submit a WARN notification, she said.

Exemptions to this notice outlined in the act include a faltering company, unforeseeable business circumstances and natural disaster.

“Additionally, the Department of Labor does not provide a penalty for not providing a WARN [notice],” Moffitt said.

The workforce center doesn’t depend solely on WARN notices for this information, she said. It also received the information from affected workers, local employer contacts, and working to validate what it sees and hears in the media, she said.

Peterbilt laid off a small percentage of employees in 2009. It hired about 900 people during the first part of 2011.

At the end of July, PACCAR reported that truck orders could decline for the remainder of the year because of weak economic growth.

“We look forward to an improved 2013 as fleets begin to replace their older vehicles,” Easton said.

For the second quarter of 2012, PACCAR earned $297.2 million, a 24 percent increase from the second quarter last year. Revenue also was up for the second quarter over last year, with PACCAR reporting $4.46 billion.

For the first six months of 2012, net sales and financial services revenues were up 27 percent from the previous year at $9.23 billion.

RACHEL MEHLHAFF can be reached at 940-566-6889. Her e-mail address is