Briggs & Stratton laying off 160 workers at Wauwatosa plant as production lines are relocated

The Briggs & Stratton Burleigh plant

Last updated on January 30th, 2023 at 12:22 pm

Wauwatosa-based Briggs & Stratton Corp. is planning to lay off 160 workers at its Wauwatosa plant, located at 3300 N. 124th St.

Brad Dorff, sub-district director for the United Steelworkers, which represents several Briggs & Stratton employees, said the organization has received a notice explaining the home standby generator line will be moving to Auburn, Alabama and engine component production will be moving to Poplar Bluff, Missouri.

Layoffs will begin in March and be mostly completed in July, although a handful of workers will remain with the company through December.

“In discussions with the company, I understand it just has not been very profitable here,” Dorff said. “Unfortunately, we had the feeling that something like this was going to be coming. It was disappointing. We’ve seen layoffs happening in the past year – not to these numbers of course.”

In a statement issued Friday, Briggs & Stratton said moving the two production lines will allow the company to consolidate production into facilities that manufacture similar Briggs & Stratton products. This will minimize freight costs, streamline processes and allow the company to “build products faster and more quickly respond to customer needs.”

“It’s important to note that Briggs & Stratton remains committed to the Milwaukee community and will maintain a strong local presence with its corporate headquarters and a number of other local facilities and functions,” reads the statement from the company.

Briggs & Stratton also operates a distribution center in Menomonee Falls.

Dorff said the union is already reaching out to other local manufacturers that are hiring to help relocate workers. Some workers affected by the latest round of layoffs will be able to relocate to the Menomonee Falls distribution center.

United Steelworkers will still represent approximately 160 members who work for Briggs & Stratton following this round of layoffs.

Briggs & Stratton announced an earlier round of layoffs in 2020 that affected another 100 workers. In 2022, the company cut 34 corporate jobs and closed its Germantown distribution center.

The company also sold their Wauwatosa plant in early 2022 for $24 million, an idea that previously emerged while Briggs was working its way through the bankruptcy process in 2020.

Briggs & Stratton was sold to New York-based private equity firm KPS Capital Partners in 2020.

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Ashley covers startups, technology and manufacturing for BizTimes. She was previously the managing editor of the News Graphic and Washington County Daily News. In past reporting roles, covering education at The Waukesha Freeman, she received several WNA awards. She is a UWM graduate. In her free time, Ashley enjoys watching independent films, tackling a new recipe in the kitchen and reading a good book.

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