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Wisconsin manufacturer AriensCo laying off workers at its facility in rural Brillion

Mayor: It's 'a sad and nerve-racking day for a lot of people'

This is AriensCo headquarters in Brillion
AriensCo headquarters in Brillion, Wis., April 28, 2013. The company will lay off workers at its production facility in Brillion, Wis. Photo Courtesty of Royalbroil on WikiMediaCommons

AriensCo, a manufacturer of snow blowers, lawn tractors and zero-turf lawn mowers, is laying off some of its production employees in rural Brillion.

In a statement, the company said it was immediately ending some of its second, third and weekend shift operations, and expanding first shift operations. Ariens is encouraging affected employees to apply for the company’s roughly 100 open positions.

“No other changes are planned,” the company said. “We understand this rebalance directly affects employees and have provided paid time for them to apply for open roles.”

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Ariens declined to comment further. The company did not give the number of workers affected, and it had not filed a layoff notice with the state as of Tuesday. Ariens says the “rebalancing” does not meet the threshold to post a layoff notice with the state.

Brillion Mayor Mike Smith estimated 700 people worked for the company in manufacturing and that the layoffs could affect between 200 and 500 people.

“Nothing’s been confirmed, but (it’s) certainly a couple hundred people at minimum that were let go, just based on the knowledge that I do have,” Smith said.

He said employees were notified of the layoffs Monday, and the city was informed Tuesday. Brillion has a population around 3,300, and Ariens is its largest employer. Smith said the layoffs are a major loss for the community.

“It’s obviously a sad and nerve-racking day for a lot of people,” he said. “I think the community at large feels the impacts, whether each individual was affected or not. We feel for our neighbors and our friends.”

He said the city is working with the Fox Valley Workforce Development Board to provide assistance for people filing for unemployment and finding new jobs. The Fox Valley Workforce Development Board also plans to host job fairs.

“The benefit of our community is that we do have such hardworking, resilient people,” Smith said. “We’re the type of community, and the type of people that make up our community, that we’ll be able to rebound from this quickly and support each other in that process.”