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Hasbro cuts 200 jobs at EL plant

By Natasha Clark

Assistant Managing Editor

EAST LONGMEADOW Hasbro Inc. announced that they will cut 200 jobs from their Hasbro Games division in East Longmeadow.

Wayne Charness, senior vice president at Hasbro Inc in Pawtucket, R.I., told Reminder Publications that this is an attempt to improve productivity at the plant.

"Right now our goal is to add some greater flexibility in work assignments and that's why we're sitting and talking to the union," Charness said. "[Of those cut], it will be 180 union workers and 20 office support folks. We're going to meet with the union to determine who those people are. The plan is to keep secure the majority of the manufacturing jobs in East Longmeadow."

The plant, located at 443 Shaker Rd., became the consolidated manufacturing site of all Milton Bradley and Parker Brothers board games in 1992. Charness said layoffs would begin in February and reach completion over the course of a few weeks. He went on to state that some changes were needed at the facility and that, hopefully, this will increase productivity.

Hasbro plans to invest $40 million into the plant over the next few years, while immediately doling out $10 million to upgrade and modernize equipment.

While Charness said he hopes any impact on the business community, such as restaurants, gas stations and stores, would be minimal, "the fact is there will be 200 less people," he said.

Charness said Hasbro is continually working with the union.

"We will work with them and offer office staff a competitive severance program and we intend to negotiate appropriate benefits," Charness added.

The cuts at the East Longmeadow site come just a week after Hasbro entered into an agreement to acquire privately-held Cranium Inc., and its wide range of Cranium branded games and related products, for $77.5 million.