Mercury plans for Wisconsin plant’s closing

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Mercury Marine confirmed Sunday that its contract proposal for union employees lapsed this weekend without acceptance by the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers.

Union members had rejected the company's proposal in a formal vote Aug. 23. The union conducted a last-minute vote on the proposed contract this weekend but did not complete the process to a definitive conclusion prior to the company's deadline of midnight Saturday.

Mercury said it will continue to operate the Fond du Lac, Wis., facility under the terms and conditions of the existing contract, which expires in 2012. The company will now begin the planning process to transition  to its Stillwater, Okla., facility. That process is expected to take two-plus years.

"This has been a very difficult and stressful time for all involved but, as we said at the beginning of this process, it is our responsibility to make the best business decisions for the company to have a sustainable future," said Mark Schwabero, president of Mercury Marine, in a statement.

"We will work closely with our teams in Fond du Lac and Stillwater to develop and communicate a smooth transition plan, which we hope to implement with minimal disruption to our business and the communities," he added.

Mercury said it expects to finalize the details of state and local programs during the next few days and that detailed plans for the transition will be announced as they become available.

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