Originally created 07/01/03

Waste Management to trim payroll by 600



HOUSTON -- Waste Management Inc. said Monday it will reduce its work force by 600 and eliminate 200 contract positions as part of a plan to reduce its markets and streamline costs.

"The decision to reduce our work force is always very hard; however it is our responsibility to shareholders to enhance our competitiveness," A. Maurice Myers, chairman and chief executive of the nation's biggest trash hauler, said. "The operational improvements our company continues to make allow us to streamline our business and enhance our competitiveness in the face of a sluggish economy.

"These actions are intended to keep us on track with the financial goals that we outlined for 2003."

Monday's announcement is the second job reduction for Waste Management this year. The company announced a 700-person furlough in March. Waste Management employed 53,000 workers at the beginning 2003, but has since reduced its work force to 51,500, said company spokeswoman Sarah Simpson. The 600 jobs being cut represent 1.2 percent of that total.

Some of the new cutbacks will take place within Waste Management's finance and information technology staffs, where improvements have been made to financial systems allowing for the reductions.

"The quality of our systems is such that we no longer require as many people to oversee these job functions," said David Steiner, the company's chief financial officer.

Waste Management said mid- and senior-level managers as well as workers in the company's operations, finance and billing departments will be affected.

The cuts will result in an estimated $20 million in 2003 pretax cost savings and $50 million annual savings, the company said.