Wis. governor will join Mercury negotiations

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Wisconsin Gov. Jim Doyle says he plans to be involved in negotiations between Mercury Marine and its union as the company considers the possibility of shifting operations from Fond du Lac, Wis., to Stillwater, Okla., which would eliminate as many as 2,000 local jobs.

“We all need to be focused on an outcome that continues to provide family-supporting jobs for hundreds of workers in Fond du Lac and that allows Mercury Marine to continue its market leadership from its headquarters in Wisconsin,” said Doyle in a Fond du Lac Reporter newspaper story.

“I will continue to be engaged and, as appropriate, directly involved as these negotiations continue to occur,” the governor added.

Doyle said the state has offered an aggressive package to help Mercury maintain its market leadership and operate efficiently.

Meanwhile, union workers have told company officials they need more time to go over 156 requested company documents.

“We are willing to discuss [our contract] to save jobs. We are not going to be pressured into rushing into a decision that affects so many people,” local union president Mark Zillges told the newspaper.

The next meeting between Mercury and union officials is scheduled for Monday.

Click here for the full article.

In related news, Doyle has nearly $4 million in assistance for dislocated workers, including those from Mercury Marine, providing expanded employment and training services available to them through 10 regional Workforce Development Boards.

“This funding will help employees increase their skills and attain new employment sooner,” Doyle said in a statement. “We will be able to offer retraining and re-employment services tailored to meet the needs of individual workers, connecting workers to available jobs or providing new skills to prepare them for their next job.”

The Fox Valley Workforce Development Area, which covers Mercury Marine, received $446,400.


6 comments on “Wis. governor will join Mercury negotiations

  1. Doyle's track record

    Bad idea….Jim Doyle is a Peace Corps volunteer, not a businessman. He’s got a terrible record for anything business-related in WI (except for increasing the tax rate on ‘evil’ business owners).

  2. BoatPoker

    Oklahoma has an ample work force in a “Right to Work” atmosphere. We would gladly welcome Mercury Marine moving the outboard operations here.
    Our people are capable of producing a high quality product at a reasonable cost.

  3. Steve B.

    The fact that Wisconsin is offering financial incentives to Mercury to stay is part of our countries problem. States should not be using taxpayer money to lure a company. This use of money that belongs to all of the residents of the state but only benefits a few is wrong. If Wisconsin wants to lure businesses to their state they should make it easier and more attractive to do business in that state. As for the union, they made their bed, now they have to lie in it. I’m sure if the workers offered to disband their union and work for reasonable wages and benefits that Mercury would consider that very seriously, but we all know that the union officials would never let that happen, even if it was in the best interest of the workers. I think Mercury is doing what they feel they need to do in order to survive, as Americans we should all be thankful that they chose Oklahoma and not Mexico.  

  4. boatman

    At a time when rational thinking and cool heads should pervail we read things such as “to bad for the union”, “time to leave for Oklahoma” etc.. This is not how our great country was built!! We need to sit down, like intelligent and caring people and find out what got the two parties to the “US and THEM” point of no return and resolve the issues and go back to work building the best products in the world and not let foolish pride get in the way. No one wins when a company leaves a home they have been in for so long, not the company, not the employee. There is a  middle ground and I would suggest all parties take time to think about the ramifications of just up and either moving or being difficult in negociations. When I found my company (400 employees) in somewhat the same situation I personally took over the negociations, found out what my employees needed and let them know what I needed. It took two days (48 hours stright) for us to find a common meeting ground, saving them their jobs and me the heartache and headache of relocating to another state. They cannot offer me enough money or incentives to move. My employees and I have come through this very tough time together and believe me it’s a total team effort. United We Stand, Divided We will Fall!! Good luck to all concerned and may God Bless All of You.

  5. Grand man

    I agree that rational thinking should be the utmost consideration.
    Yes, moving a company form one location after many years is difficult, and it can be hard on employees. However, at the same time it can offer opportunities to workers that are willing to transfer, because of the cost of living, and being part of a new future. Rational thinking by the management is suppose to make decisions based upon “what is best” for the company and stockholders.
    Relocating to another state with BIG incentives has to be considered. Corporate tax incentives, reduced employee taxes, reduced distribution expenses, facilities, educational opportunities, etc, etc.
    The decison will be hard, no matter what. The People in Oklahome will also face loosing their plant after 33 years plus. It has been the leading marine facility in the world since start up, and it has contributed significantly to corporate profits for many years.
    Both states want the company, so the decision is where can they survive, with less operating expense, and have advantages nobody else can offer. 

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