Around 120 Neillsville workers will be looking for new jobs as Regal-Beloit announces plans to move production to Mexico.
Employees were told Friday the company plans to "ramp down" production this summer, and permanently close the doors by 2009. Dave Barta, the Chief Financial Officer of the company based in Hartford, the primary competitors they're facing are based in low-cost countries such as China and Mexico. He says that's resulted in them needing to lower their costs for production.
The Neillsville facilities make industrial motors for manufacturing applications. Barta acknowledges the market has been strong, and the company has been profitable, but global competition is forcing them to look elsewhere for labor.
While Barta wasn't sure the of the exact number, Regal Beloit is believed to have thousands of employees in Wisconsin, including plants in Black River Falls and Wausau.
Despite the pragmatic approach taken in shutting down the Neillsville plants, Barta said it may be "jumping to conclusions" to assume Regal-Beloit will shut down other plants here in the state. He says the company is doing everything it can to drive up productivity.
Barta says some customers still prefer quick, quality service over less expensive products.