Oshkosh Corporation will lay off approximately 450 production workers in January. The company announced the employee reduction in a press release on Thursday. A decrease in defense spending reportedly attributed to the lack of available work. Vice President Joe Biden is scheduled for a campaign stop in the area on Friday.
The company “aggressively” increased its workforce between 2008 and 20ll in response to winning several defense contracts, according to the Green Bay Press Gazette. OshKosh Corporation received orders to produce more than 8,000 Mine-Resistant All-Terrain Vehicles (M-ATVs) and 23,000 Family of Medium Tactical Vehicles.
Job fairs resulted in the hiring of 1,000 new workers from around Wisconsin. During that time period, OshKosh had a very high rate of unemployment. Corporation spokesman John Daggatt had this to say about the layoff of an estimated 450 workers at the first of the year:
“These are always difficult decisions. Unfortunately, there’s no huge contract in the near future that will have a significant impact. But there could be different changes just based on a lot of moving factors.”
Company officials are meeting with United Auto Workers Local 578 to discuss offering early retirement packages to older workers, according to The Northwestern. Oshkosh Corporation has also promised to help displaced workers transition into new employment in January.
A statement released by the auto workers union reads:
“As expected, the union is very concerned not only about the impact to our membership, but also their family members and the surrounding community. The union is also very concerned that the company has outsourced work and we are in the process of attempting to bring this work in and explore additional work with the company. We are also looking into ways to lessen the impact of an outright layoff, such as the possibility for some to retire early. The union will continue discussions with the company on these matters to lessen the burden as much as possible.”