Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Today's Wis job losses make punishing the poor seem more absurd

A bad day for Wisconsin job news today, starting with the news that came out this morning when a significant state-based employer announced that Wisconsinites would be among the many people their company will be laying off in the coming months.
Kimberly-Clark is considering closing two manufacturing facilities in the Fox Valley.

The company says it plans to close the Neenah Nonwovens Facility within the next 18 months. It plans to shut down the Cold Spring Facility in Fox Crossing, with final details coming after consultation and negotiation with the plant's labor union and other labor stakeholders.

The closures will affect about 600 employees, the company said. K-C currently employs about 3,200 people in the Neenah area….

The closures are part of a worldwide restructuring plan announced a week ago. Kimberly-Clark plans to cut 5,000 to 5,500 jobs overall, about 12-13 percent of its workforce.
So that “right-to-work will save jobs” meme didn’t happen here, did it, WisGOP?

Another large-scale job loss in Wisconsin was announced later today, when Milwaukee-based Bon-Ton announced it was closing 42 stores nationwide, and 9 in our state.
Younkers at the Fox River Mall in Appleton
Boston Store at the Heritage Village, in Beaver Dam
Elder-Beerman at the Eclipse Center in Beloit
Younkers at the Forrest Mall in Fond du Lac
Younkers at the Lakeshore Edgewater Plaza in Manitowoc
Younkers at Pine Tree Mall in Marinette
Boston Store Clearance Center at 5659 S. 27th St. in Milwaukee
Younkers at Mariner Mall in Superior
Younkers at Wausau Center Mall in Wausau

Bon-Ton has partnered with a third-party liquidator, Hilco Merchant Resources, to help manage the store closing sales. The store closing sales are scheduled to begin Feb. 1 and run for approximately 10 to 12 weeks. Employees will be offered the opportunity to interview for available positions at other store locations...

On Monday, Bon-Ton, which has dual headquarters in Milwaukee and York, Pennsylvania, asked debt holders to approve a three-year restructuring plan that includes closing the stores but also investing in existing stores and improving online sales, which make up only 12 percent of the business.

The Bon-Ton Stores, which has more than $1 billion in debt, failed to make a December loan payment to lenders of $14 million and is running out of options.
Yes, this may be a reflection of structural economic changes in the 2010s, where there is less need for paper products and brick-and-mortar stores. But that sure won’t help the 1,000+ workers that will likely lose their jobs feel better.

And I’m betting they’ll be thrilled to find out that the Wisconsin GOP was holding a hearing today on a bill that would force them to piss in a cup to get their unemployment and FoodShare benefits. You know, because it's the laid-off workers' faults that Bon-Ton took on $1 billion in debt, and that the GOP tax bill made it more worthwhile for Kimberly-Clark to take on the expense of layoffs.

You run on that, Gov Walker, Robbin' Vos, and the rest of you in WisGOP's "Work Makes You Free" crowd. It may be a really bad look given what layoffs may look like by November.


  1. It's not just too bad that these companies are allowed to do their dirty deeds, what they're doing is destroying communities. Younkers here was a good store that employed many, yet just what is driving this bad direction?

    Paper mills were once the lifeblood of the Fox Valley. Management was paid well, and so were workers.

    If Walker is staking his future on this sad scenario, and people have figured this out, then they are voted out. Just hope Dems offer a real alternative.

    1. As I mentioned, I do think some of this is structural for both paper mills and retail stores. But these specific instances also seem to involve screw-ups and rent-seeking by bad businessmen, and it sure seems like there's a lot of them in Wisconsin.

      You do have to wonder if we've reached the tipping point, and enough people have caught on to the fact that this trickle-down crap isn't working for 99% of Wisconsinites. And if they have, there isn't enough Koch money out there to convince them otherwise.