JEFFERSON (WKOW) -- 430 people will be out of a job at Briggs and Stratton's Jefferson and Watertown manufacturing plant by next year.
Briggs and Stratton announced they'll completely shut down their facilities in Jefferson and Watertown by June 2010.
It'll affect about 300 employees at this plant in Jefferson and about a hundred in Watertown. The company manufactures generators and pressure washers. It will now shift production south to its plants in Georgia and Alabama, as well as Wauwatosa. It's a move no one was expecting.
Gary Myers, Jefferson's mayor, says, "It caught us really by surprise. This wasn't something we were expecting at all. The rumor mill hadn't been churning in fact we thought everything was really good."
Terry Lawton, another employee at Briggs and Stratton, says, "The only thing I can do is go back to flipping burgers, but they aren't around here any more either... There's no jobs here."
Briggs and Stratton administrators say they'll have outplacement personnel available to all employees until they find new work. The company is offering severance packages, healthcare, and employee assistance programs. The city administrator says he is hoping to work with the state to put together an incentive package to attract a new business to the Briggs and Stratton location. Some manufacturing will be moving to the company's plant in Wauwatosa. Somewhere between 90 to 100 employees from Jefferson could get a chance to move there.
Briggs and Stratton hopes to save 11-million dollars pre-tax from the closures.
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