Shopko outsourced Wisconsin jobs after taking money from WEDC - WKOW 27: Madison, WI Breaking News, Weather and Sports

Shopko outsourced Wisconsin jobs after taking money from WEDC

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MADISON (WKOW) -- Another company that has received millions of dollars in tax credits from the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC) has since outsourced Wisconsin jobs overseas.

Since 2012, the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation has awarded $2 million to Specialty Retail Shops Holding Corporation, a subsidiary of Sun Capital that serves as the parent company to Shopko, which is headquartered in Green Bay. $1 million of that award was for job creation tax credits.

To date, WEDC records show Shopko has created 94 of a planned 129 new jobs since the award was originally handed out.  

But a 27 News investigation found Shopko has also outsourced jobs to southeast Asia since receiving the award.

On May 6, the U.S. Department of Labor awarded Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA) benefits to seven former employees whose data entry jobs were outsourced from the company's corporate headquarters to India in late 2014.

This is just the latest example of a company outsourcing Wisconsin jobs after receiving taxpayer dollars from WEDC.

In July 2012, Plexus Corp. announced it was laying off 116 workers from its Neenah facility. The USDOL ruled those employees were eligible to receive federal Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA) benefits because the work they were doing was moved to an overseas location.

Plexus Corp. did not identify where it relocated those jobs to in 2012, but also has offices and interests in the United Kingdom, China, Germany, Romania, Malaysia and Thailand.

WEDC records show Plexus has created 74 out of a planned 350 new jobs to date, but has received $8.9 million in state tax credits since 2011 - $5.1 million for capital investments.

A 27 News investigation from July 2014 found that Eaton Corp. had received over $190,000 in WEDC tax credits despite laying off 163 employees at its Cooper Power Systems plant in Pewaukee in April 2013.  The company moved those jobs to Mexico.

In April 2015 Eaton Corp. announced it was permanently discontinuing the manufacture of printed circuit boards at its facility in Watertown and sending that work to Mexico as well, which resulted in the elimination of 93 employees there.

Since 2012, the agency has awarded Eaton Corp. with $369,307 of a possible $1 million in job creation tax credits. During that time, Eaton has retained 154 jobs in Wisconsin while adding 23 new jobs.

And last month, 27 News found five employees of W.W. Grainger in Janesville lost their jobs when the multinational business supply corporation outsourced their work to Panama, even though the company was awarded $50,000 in WEDC tax credits. Those tax credits were ultimately revoked and WEDC has instructed Grainger to pay back the $50,000.

After Thursday's revelations about Shopko, WEDC Board member and State Representative Peter Barca (D-Kenosha) told 27 News it troubles him that the same pattern continues.
"Our goal was to put the onus on the company to make us informed when they are outsourcing jobs and I'm not clear that that's going on now," said Rep. Barca. "But I think that we do need to tighten our systems."

A WEDC spokesperson told 27 News that the current contract for Specialty Retail Stores Holding Corp. expires in October and if the company fails to meet the deliverables of their contract, including not maintaining jobs in Wisconsin, the agency will recover funds through the penalty provisions contained in the agreement.

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