December 1, 2015

Tyson Foods to close Jefferson pepperoni plant

tysonlogoSome 400 workers at the Tyson Foods pepperoni plant in Jefferson will be losing their jobs next year. The multinational food processing corporation based in Springdale, Arkansas, announced Thursday that the Jefferson plant and a Chicago prepared foods facility are expected to cease operations during the second half of fiscal year 2016, which ends October 1, 2016.

The closings will enable the company to use available production capacity at some of its other prepared foods facilities, according to a release from Tyson. The plant closings will affect approximately 880 employees, about 480 at Chicago and 400 at Jefferson.

Kohler strikers ordered to stop blocking traffic

A Sheboygan County judge has ordered striking Kohler Company workers to stop blocking traffic. Circuit Judge James Bolgert issued an injunction on Tuesday, after the company filed a complaint about a march by 1,200 untion strikers on Monday. The complaint says that caused a two-mile traffic jam. Kohler also alleged that the strikers are harassing people trying to enter the plant, crowding around vehicles and assaulting contracted security officers.

A court hearing is set for next Wednesday on a request by Kohler for an a court order to end mass picketing and intimidating demonstrations in a strike that’s entering its fourth day. The firm claimed police are “overwhelmed” by the large numbers of picketers.

United Auto Workers’ local president Tim Tayloe denies that picketers assaulted security officers. He said strikers should stop blocking street traffic, and not be vocally abusive with those trying to enter the plants. Tayloe said there are no new contract talks scheduled.


Dollar General breaks ground on Janesville project

Construction is underway on a project that will bring hundred of jobs to Janesville. Dollar General has broken ground on a one-million-square-foot distribution center on the city’s south side. Company officials say the facility will be a hub of its Midwest distribution network. The warehouse should be running by late 2016, with hiring set to start this summer. More than 500 people are expected to be employed there.

City officials and the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation say the project is an investment of more than $70-million dollars. It’s also the largest scale tax incremental financing project the city of Janesville has ever agreed to.


Johnson Controls cuts 277 Milwaukee jobs

johnsoncontrolscropA major Wisconsin manufacturer will scale back its workforce at the start of the new year. Johnson Controls will eliminate 277 jobs when it consolidates a business center in suburban Milwaukee with three others in foreign countries. In a notice to the state’s workforce development agency, the company confirmed that 114 finance-and-accounting jobs will be eliminated by late January, and the rest by late June.

Johnson Controls intends to streamline processes as it consolidates its business center in Glendale with centers in Mexico, Slovakia, and China. It’s part of an overall plan to cut 3,000 salaried positions worldwide over the next two years, as Johnson Controls spins off its car-seat manufacturing business into a separate company. Johnson will continue as a maker of heating-and-cooling controls for large buildings — as well as a manufacturer of high-tech auto batteries.

Union rejects Kohler’s final contract offer

Union workers at the Kohler Company are on strike for the first time since 1983. All but six-percent of 1800 United Auto Workers Union members said no Sunday to what the bathroom fixtures maker called its “last, best, and final offer.”

That was a three-year deal with a 50-cent-an-hour wage hike each year for the higher of two tiers of employees. Kohler also offered contract approval bonuses of at least one-thousand-dollars, to help cover the employees’ increases in health insurance costs.

Kohler says it was “very disappointed” by the strike vote, and it plans to continue production. The firm was inviting employees to work Monday at their current pay. The walkout affects about 2100 union workers at Kohler.

As union membership declines, there are fewer private sector strikes. The U.S. Labor Department reported 11 walkouts last year at plants with 1,000 or more employees. There were about 300 such strikes each year during the 1970s.