Weyerhaeuser to cut 1,500 workers

Weyerhaeuser Co. on Tuesday said it would cut about 1,500 employees, or 6.3 percent of its global work force, as part of an ongoing plan to scale back operations to focus on timberlands and wood products.

About 1,000 of the job cuts will take place in Weyerhaeuser's Federal Way headquarters where 2,500 people work.

The rest are at Weyerhaeuser offices throughout the country.

Company spokesman Bruce Amundson says the layoffs are largely in support services for paper and packaging units that have been sold.

The company has taken several actions to reduce its size in recent years, including the $6 billion sale of its containerboard unit to International Paper Co., which closed this week, and combining its fine paper business with Domtar Corp.

Also, in May, the company said it planned to sell its Australian timber manufacturing and distribution business to New Zealand-based forest products company Carter Holt Harvey. Maritime shipping and railway assets also are reportedly for sale.

“This is part of our resizing of the organization to reflect our smaller footprint,” Amundson said.

About 900 of the layoffs will take place this year and 600 next year.

Weyerhaeuser had about 37,900 employees at the end of 2007 and some 14,000 went to International Paper in the containerboard packaging sale.

The company currently employs about 23,900 salaried and hourly workers.

The layoffs were announced Tuesday as Weyerhaeuser reported a quarterly loss of $96 million, compared with a profit of $32 million a year earlier.