Sep 6, 2009

Oklahoma Merc Plant to Close, Jobs to Fondy

Rollercoaster ride in Fond du Lac.

Aggressive Wisconsin pols looking out for their own? Corporate duplicity?

Whatever the machinations in the minds of the decision-makers at Brunswick and Mercury Marine, the Fox Valley and (IAM) Local 1947 are relieved; not so in Oklahoma.

The latest:

From the AP in the Chicago Tribune:

STILLWATER, Okla. - After Wisconsin workers agreed to concessions, Mercury Marine said it will move work there from Oklahoma within two years, putting 380 employees in Stillwater out of work.

The boat engine maker pitted its manufacturing plants in Stillwater and Fond du Lac, Wis., against each other, saying it would consolidate the plants but hadn't decided where.

When a union representing workers at the Wisconsin plant agreed last week to wage and benefit concessions, the company announced that plant would remain open.

On Friday, Mercury Marine said it would take 18 to 24 months to complete the Stillwater layoff.

'Eventually we'll close the Stillwater facility,' Mercury Marine spokesman Steve Fleming said.

Company President Mark Schwabero said the consolidation needed after major declines in the recreational boating industry. 'As we've stated throughout this important process, comprehensive changes to wages, benefits and operational flexibility are necessary for Mercury to effectively compete in a smaller and fundamentally changed marketplace,' he said.

State Rep. Cory Williams, D-Stillwater, worked with state officials to put together a tax-incentive package to entice Mercury Marine to stay. 'This went down to a corporation trying to get concessions out of a union, and I think they leveraged another community to do so,' Williams said.

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