Slowing economy limits Kohler’s ability to keep workers as jobs head to Mississippi

Company expects to lay off 90 employees starting Jan. 12

Kohler Engines

Last updated on March 17th, 2020 at 01:36 pm

Kohler Co. says it will lay off up to 90 employees from its engine business starting Jan. 12 as the company relocates production work to Mississippi.

In September 2018, the company announced the work would move and said around 325 positions would be impacted. Since the announcement, the company has worked to find new positions for employees at its Sheboygan County operations.

In a notice to state officials, Kohler said it will continue to look for opportunities for employees until the assembly line relocation is complete.

“What has changed in the last 14 months is that certain sectors of the economy have slowed, including housing, impacting the number of open positions in other Company divisions,” the notice said.

Most of the positions, 46, included in the layoffs are for assembly set-up/operators. Another 25 are for engine machine set-up/operators. There are 11 power material handlers for service parts and another five material handlers in engines. Two engine inspection and one engine support positions are also included.

In March, Kohler said the relocation was a “business decision” and the company did not seek any incentives from Wisconsin. The Associated Press reported the company  is eligible for $18.5 million in tax breaks and subsidies in Mississippi, plus a $1.25 million refund as part of the settlement of a property tax lawsuit.

“This consolidation will create a simplified customer experience and is not about reducing headcount or downsizing the business,” the company said in a statement at the time. “We remain fully committed to our headquarters in Wisconsin, where we are continuing to invest in our facilities and actively recruiting for a wide range of roles.”


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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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