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Fargo's Case New Holland cutting 140 jobs for hourly employees

FARGO - Fargo's largest manufacturing employer, Case New Holland, is cutting 140 jobs effective March 16.

Case New Holland, manufacturer of agricultural and construction equipment, is cutting the hourly positions due to the continuing weakness of the economy and a need to align production with demand, said Ralph Traviati, CNH Global North America head of news and information.

CNH Global N.V. oversees the Fargo Case New Holland plant.

In December, Chris Skeldum, the president of the International Association of Machinists, a local machinists union, said Case New Holland planned 10 weeks of temporary layoffs spread over four months.

Traviati told the Forum Friday that the 140 cuts are indefinite.

In April, Fargo awarded Case New Holland a 10-year tax exemption worth $625,567 on an $18 million plant expansion meant to save 200 jobs from moving to a similar plant in Brazil. At the time, Case New Holland said the savings would help the company retain its 694 Fargo workers and add 150 workers in 2008, 100 workers in 2009 and another 100 workers in 2010.

The company has not yet received the tax exemptions, according to Ben Hushka, Fargo City Assessor. Hushka said he expects city leaders will have to evaluate the situation.

The cuts will have a significant impact, said Brian Walters, Greater Fargo Moorhead Economic Development Corp. president.

"When you look at the manufacturing sector as a whole, that has a signifi-cant multiplier," he said.

Case New Holland will continue to look for opportunities to utilize the Fargo plant's capacity, Traviati said.