Thursday, June 30, 2016

Surprise! Another Walker buddy/WEDC recpient is laying off

With the holiday weekend approaching, it's typical to see bad news get dumped out. Not just in the political world, but also in the business world, and with that in mind, hearing that SE Wisconsin manufacturer HUSCO, Inc. will lay off 100 workers next year isn’t all that shocking. It's been a rough time for manufacturing with the strong dollar and the oil bust, so these statements aren't unusual to see these days.
The layoffs come following a protracted downturn in the energy, mining, construction and agricultural industries, according to the statement from the company.

HUSCO International will consolidate off-highway assembly, machining and maintenance operations from three to two domestic manufacturing facilities.

The layoffs include both salaried and hourly positions.

HUSCO International will maintain off-highway production at its plants in Whitewater, Wisconsin, and Maquoketa, Iowa.

Off-highway manufacturing at HUSCO’s Waukesha facility will end in early 2017.
While the layoffs suck, that's not the only reason this story grabbed my attention. The name HUSCO tripped a few triggers to me, and after a couple of checks of the Google, my instincts were confirmed.

Governor Scott Walker knows HUSCO very well. He was at that Waukesha plant in the week before the Wisconsin recall election of 2012. And check out the press release from the event, which allegedly came from the company, but sure sounds like something the Friends of Scott Walker would put out.
Austin Ramirez, HUSCO’s CEO and Agustin Ramirez, Executive Chairman both spoke before Walker, outlining how the choices the governor has made has helped create a business environment where positive growth has precipitated into increased hiring for the company and the community.

Governor Walker has been making appearances across the state to support his jobs initiatives. His platform rests on creating a business-friendly environment in order to stimulate job growth. Speaking at HUSCO was one of the stops on his tour highlighting the improving business climate in Wisconsin and companies who have seen positive job growth over his term. There are no tags associated with this post.
And look, here’s Walker addressing a captive audience at HUSCO right before his 2014 election, in another “jobs photo op” appearance.

And how did Walker know to go to HUSCO? It helps to remember the name of Michael Grebe, the soon-to-be-retired head of the Bradley Foundation, and Scott Walker's longtime campaign chair. Coincidentally, Walker put Grebe's son on the UW Board of Regents last year, and take a look at where little Grebe worked.
Michael M. Grebe is currently Executive Vice President & General Counsel for HUSCO International Inc., a global leader in the development and manufacture of hydraulic and electrohydraulic components. Previously, Mr. Grebe was a partner at Quarles & Brady LLP, where he served as a member of the firm’s Executive Committee and provided legal services in Business Law and Mergers and Acquisitions. Throughout his professional career, Mr. Grebe has devoted much time to local nonprofits and serves on various boards of directors throughout the state, including Columbia St. Mary’s, Managed Health Services Corporation, and the Zoological Society of Milwaukee. Mr. Grebe graduated from Dartmouth College and the University of Wisconsin Law School.

“Michael is a valuable addition to the UW System Board of Regents,” Governor Walker said. “His leadership skills, coupled with his diverse professional knowledge and expertise in corporate and business law, will undoubtedly serve the Board of Regents well as they work to establish rules and policies for the efficient governing of the UW System.”
I'm sure you'll be surprised to learn that the Ramirez family that runs HUSCO has given tens of thousands of dollars to Republicans in the 2010s, including several thousand to both Walker and Attorney General Brad Schimel.

And yes, of course HUSCO received a taxpayer-funded kickback from the Walker-created Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC). This is from June 2013.
HUSCO International is embarking on a multi-year $45 million capital expansion project in Wisconsin that is expected to generate over 150 permanent new jobs by 2015.

“I congratulate HUSCO for making this major investment in its operations to grow in Wisconsin,” said Governor Scott Walker. “HUSCO is well-positioned to expand its leadership in automotive engineering efficiency technologies, and I’m pleased the State of Wisconsin is a partner in supporting the company’s growth.”

The Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation has made HUSCO eligible for up to $800,000 in tax credits to support the company’s major investment.
Huh, and in 2016, here goes HUSCO cutting 100 jobs after Walker has suckered enough people into re-electing him, and the cameras are gone. Funny that.

Seriously, getting these people blown out of power ASAP seems like too kind a fate.


  1. There's not much we can do about Walker in the immediate future, but flipping the Senate and Assembly can happen in November

    1. Andy's right, and he didn't say it, but he's trying to blow Robbin' Vos out of the Assembly. Feel free to help him out, if you're so inclined

  2. And here's a fun update, where the RW owners of HUSCO were so scared of pissed off workers that they called up Waukesha cops to keep the peace last night.

    Gee, after all of the BS these bosses blew up their employees backsides about how "it's working" under Walker, you wonder why they were worried workers might be mad? Sickening, and so weak