CNH to lay off 105 from Racine-area plant

CNH Industrial will lay off approximately 105 full-time employees from its Racine-area manufacturing facility as the company “responds to market conditions” but local union officials say the company could have given employees more notice.

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CNH will lay off 105 employees at its plant in Mt. Pleasant.

Company spokeswoman Kathleen Prause confirmed the decision in a brief statement that said the indefinite layoff was expected to begin this month and employees were informed of the decision on Monday.

The facility at 7000 Durand Ave., Mount Pleasant, manufactures equipment for CNH Industrial’s agriculture brands, including Case IH and New Holland Agriculture.

“Coming back the very first week after a shutdown …  and then being notified that there would be permanent lay offs, they weren’t prepared for that,” said Jeff Vassh, president of the United Auto Workers Local 180, the union representing workers at the plant. As of December, the union had 530 active members, nearly 60 on some sort of leave and 159 on indefinite layoff with recall rights.

A report on the union’s website says there were rumors in December of a 15 percent reduction in workforce that was to take place after the holidays.

Vassh’s report at the time says “We were told that due to the inconsistency of the market, the engineers are doing some scenario planning for a 20 percent increase and a 20 percent decrease in production needs. At this time there is no plan on a reduction in workforce. It appears that our membership has picked up on the reduced production scenario and started to run with it. However, our production schedule is a direct reflection of the market for our product. Neither the company or external research projections anticipate a reduction in the market at this time. That is not to say the market or market projections won’t change in the short or long-term future.”

He told BizTimes the union went to management at the plant and asked if there would be lay offs in the early part of 2016. He said the management said there wouldn’t be and then he passed that message along to the members, adding that many likely adjusted their holiday spending after the company’s response to the rumors.

“The reality is they’re in for some pretty difficult times,” Vassh said.

Asked to comment on Vassh’s assertion, Prause said she could only share the company’s statement announcing the decision.

The plant previously had lay offs in March 2015 and also in November 2014.

 

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Arthur covers banking and finance and the economy at BizTimes while also leading special projects as an associate editor. He also spent five years covering manufacturing at BizTimes. He previously was managing editor at The Waukesha Freeman. He is a graduate of Carroll University and did graduate coursework at Marquette. A native of southeastern Wisconsin, he is also a nationally certified gymnastics judge and enjoys golf on the weekends.

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