Sheboygan officials make pitch to keep Gardner Denver jobs

Officials from the city of Sheboygan, Sheboygan County, the state of Wisconsin and Lakeshore Technical College, and the utilities that serve the area recently offered a package of economic incentives to Gardner Denver Inc. in an attempt to entice the company to remain in Sheboygan.

The company employs about 400 workers in Sheboygan in its Thomas manufacturing division.

Paulette Enders, director of planning and development with the city of Sheboygan, confirmed that Sheboygan officials offered the incentive package to the company, but declined to specify what the incentives are are. The city, county and other parties are optimistic about their chances in keeping the company there, she said

“It’s an aggressive package,” Enders said. “On behalf of the city, we know that Monroe, La. is trying to bring the business there, but Sheboygan wants to keep those 400 jobs and the facility here.”

Thomas also has manufacturing operations in Monroe, La., where it has about 85 workers. Gardner Denver wants to consolidate all of its Thomas manufacturing operations, said Helen Cornell, vice president and chief financial officer of the Quincy, Ill.-based company. The company will choose either Sheboygan or Monroe, La. for the consolidation, and the other facility would be closed.

The Sheboygan workers are represented by the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 1060, and union officials have reportedly met with the company. IBEW Local 1060 officials were not available for comment before deadline.

Gardner Denver plans to decide where to consolidate its operations later this month, and hopes to complete the consolidation by the end of 2009, Cornell said.


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