Kohler Plans To Relocate Some Brass Production Lines To The Southern U.S. Or India
The number of employees working in Kohler‘s local brass division in Wisconsin may be reduced by the end of the year, according to TimTayloe, president of UAW Local 833.
In an interview with WHBL News Wednesday morning (May 25), Taylor said Kohler approached the union last Thursday (May 19) about moving about one-third of the brass division’s work to the southern states or India, and worked out the details in consultation with the local. Taylor said the current collective bargaining agreement has provisions to guide such negotiations so that the union and the company can work together to “get all the open positions so that people can transition to those positions if they need to.”
Kohler has a lot of open positions right now, Taylor said. They are looking for workers to fill the ongoing worker shortage, but he added “it’s been a little difficult for Kohler. You know, layoffs are what they are. Some people quit their jobs to come to Kohler for maybe 60 days. They give up their last job to come to Kohler, and then this happens. Those people may be in danger of losing their jobs or being replaced by other employees in the company, and that’s what we hope we can address. Make sure that all the people who are affected now are able to take other jobs. I mean, these people are loyal to Kohler. When something like this happens, it affects their families and the entire community.”
Taylor said about 100 of the 350-400 people currently working in brass division have jobs that are being considered for relocation. But that number could change after the program is completed by the end of this year.
On a positive note, he hopes finding new positions among those unemployed won’t be difficult, given the current shortage across the labor market. For now, he said, he and others at Local 833 “are busy here collecting lists for our union members and trying to get whatever information we can out there so people can move and continue to work.”
WHBL asked Kohler to respond, and it did so as follows.
“Kohler regularly reviews our operations to ensure that the company and Kohler campuses are in a position for long-term success. After careful consideration, the company is working to change some manufacturing processes in our North American faucet operations to improve efficiency and competitiveness. It remains committed to its Wisconsin manufacturing operations, including ongoi’s expansion of its existing 155,000 square foot North American generator manufacturing facility in Wisconsin. Our company is a leader in the competitive marketplace and we continue to aggressively invest in each of our businesses to drive future growth and ensure customer satisfaction.”