The Miami Herald
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Posted on Thu, Jul. 21, 2005

Motorola to cut about 150 jobs in Plantation

BY PATRICK DANNER
[email protected]

Motorola announced Thursday it was trimming about 150 jobs, or about 5 percent of its 3,000-person workforce in Plantation.

Motorola, however, expects the head count at the facility will remain relatively unchanged because it has other ''significant'' positions to fill, according to company spokesman Steven Hendricks.

''We're actually recruiting for high-valued, knowledge-based areas,'' Hendricks said. The openings are in research and development, engineering, finance and sales and marketing.

Motorola is one of Broward's largest employers.

''Companies go through shifts of personnel all of the time,'' said Norman Taylor, director of Broward's Office of Economic Development. ``We're not concerned at this point because it doesn't appear that there is an announced forced reduction, but a shift in personnel.''

Plantation in the home of Motorola's Integrated Digital Enhanced Network (iDEN) division. The technology combines the capability of wireless phones and two-way radios.

The 150 jobs slated to be eliminated in this latest round of cutbacks are in Motorola's distribution operation, but are considered part of its manufacturing workforce, Hendricks said.

Hendricks declined to give the workers' last day of employment or any details on severance arrangements.

''The positions being eliminated are part of a corporate strategy to form a more integrated supply-chain organization,'' he said. ``We want to increase customer satisfaction and improve the operating efficiency of the plant.''

The distribution operations will be shifted to a customer-fulfillment center in Fort Worth, Texas, Hendricks said.

No other workforce reductions are planned for Plantation, Hendricks said.

The jobs cuts are not related to the pending merger of cellular providers Sprint Corp. and Nextel Communications.

Motorola has been the exclusive manufacturer of handsets for Nextel's 17.8 million customers. But no other major carrier relies on Motorola's technology, which includes a ''push-to-talk'' service that enables a cellphone to also operate as a walkie-talkie.

Motorola announced in December it would sell its iDEN-based phones to Nextel at least through 2007. The Sprint-Nextel merger has led some analysts to predict the end for the iDEN technology.

The Plantation facility is now working on designing a dual-mode phone that combines iDEN with the more commonly used digital wireless technology known as CDMA, or code division multiple access.

Motorola anticipates the Sprint-Nextel merger will allow Motorola to provide phones to Sprint's subscribers, which number about 26 million. Sprint uses CDMA technology.

In the early part of the decade, Motorola commenced upon a massive restructuring that shrunk its worldwide workforce from 150,000 to 68,000 people. In South Florida, Motorola last year closed its Boynton Beach plant, where it used to make pagers. At its peak, the Plantation facility employed about 3,500 workers.

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