, , , ,

Kohler Co. Moving Some Of Its Work From Wisconsin To Mississippi

Affected Workers Getting Employment Elsewhere In Company

Kohler Co. is eliminating 325 Wisconsin jobs in its small engines division and transferring the work to Mississippi. But the affected workers are getting employment elsewhere in the company.

Kohler Co. said in a statement it is offering “alternative jobs in Wisconsin” to impacted workers as the company closes its engine division in the Village of Kohler. The division makes parts and assembles motors for things like lawnmowers, snowblowers and wood splitters.

About 280 production jobs and 45 administrative positions will be cut, according to the company, best known for producing bathroom fixtures.

Stay informed on the latest news

Sign up for WPR’s email newsletter.

This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

Meanwhile, Kohler plans to hire 250 people over the next two years in Hattiesburg, Mississippi, where it has done some production work since 1998. The company is investing $15 million in new and upgraded facilities.

State and local tax incentives and subsidies of more than $18.5 million lured Kohler down south, said Tim Tayloe, president of the United Auto Workers Local 833, which represents many of the Wisconsin workers.

“If you look at the tax breaks that they are giving to companies moving down there and all the incentives that they are giving them, they’re basically buying the companies to come there,” Tayloe said. “It is hard seeing it move out as far as the jobs. We are all about the community and doing what is right for the community. The good thing is that a lot of the people are going to be able to move into other divisions and open jobs throughout the plant.”

The Kohler statement said the union reached a deal with the company regarding the move in September 2018.

“The company remains fully committed to its headquarters in Wisconsin, where it is continuing to invest in its facilities and actively recruiting for a wide range of roles,” the statement said.

Editor’s note: This story has been updated to include original reporting from WPR and new information on the number of jobs eliminated.