|Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development News Release|
|Friday, May 5, 2006
|News Media Contact
WAUSAU – Department of Workforce Development Secretary Roberta Gassman announced a series of steps Friday the department is taking to help working families affected by the decision of Fiskars Brands, Inc., to cease operations at its Wausau and Spencer facilities by mid 2007.
Governor Jim Doyle directed Secretary Gassman to assist those affected as soon as company officials informed him of the decision, and she met Friday with her staff and Job Service partners at the Wausau Job Center. She said her presence in Wausau underscored the Governor’s concern for the working families and their communities and the administration’s determination to help them overcome this setback in an otherwise strong state economy.
“While we have made significant progress over the last three years to strengthen our manufacturing base, these dislocations indicate our need to continue to give manufacturing jobs our full attention,” Secretary Gassman said. “Governor Doyle is very concerned about these workers and their families and with the help of my staff and our local partners in workforce development we will provide the needed training and assistance to continue to grow the economy, creating family supporting jobs
Workers at the Wausau plant already are certified eligible for federal Trade Act Assistance funding, up to $12,000 per employee for training, tuition and extended unemployment benefits of up to 2 years, which could total up to $10 million in benefits. Secretary Gassman said she was confident certification for Spencer and warehouse employees also would be approved.
Fiskars has indicated that they would begin layoffs in September with the Wausau and Spencer operations ending the middle of next year. State law requires 60-days notice on plant closings and job cuts.
Secretary Gassman said that the DWD’s Rapid Response team would meet with Fiskars workers next week. In all about 300 workers are affected. She said they will list services available through the Job Center, including skills assessment, training, job search and career planning assistance. Eligibility for unemployment benefits also will be explained.
Content Contact: Rose Lynch