Kohler Co. is closing its Sheboygan County engine division and moving the work to a plant in Hattiesburg, Miss., eliminating 325 positions.
In a statement, the company said consolidating the work at the Hattiesburg plant “will create a simplified customer experience and is not about reducing headcount or downsizing the company.”
The company and representatives of United Auto Workers Local 833 worked out an agreement that engine plant employees represented by the union will be able to transfer to other open positions at Kohler, including its growing generator operations. Employees also had the option to take a severance package.
“As part of the agreement, we will make available alternative jobs in Wisconsin for the affected associates,” Kohler’s statement said. “We remain fully committed to our headquarters in Wisconsin, where we continue to invest in our facilities and actively recruit for a wide range of roles.”
Kohler plans to invest more than $15 million in its Hattiesburg plant and hire 250 people there during the next two years.
One Sheboygan County line will be shut down by the end of September with the entire operation closing by the end of 2019. Kohler’s engines are used in its generators as well as sold to be used in lawnmowers and snowblowers.