Kohler Engines employees have been told that Kohler Co. is considering consolidating its Kohler-based engines operations with the Hattiesburg, Mississippi location, where they have had a presence since 1998.
The company told employees the move, which would happen in phases over the next couple of years, would simplify the customer experience and continue long-term growth and success of its engines business. In 2015, Kohler Engines made a multi-million dollar investment to increase production at its Hattiesburg manufacturing facility.
The company would maintain the Kohler Engines business headquarters and non-manufacturing support, as well as the global center for engineering and R&D in Kohler. The current engines facility in Kohler would then be re-purposed for other Kohler Co. operations.
Employees at the Kohler location that would be affected were assured that alternative jobs will be made available in Wisconsin for all of them.
The company told employees the proposed move is a business decision, not an attempt to downsize the company, or seek government incentives from Wisconsin. Some union members have speculated that this proposal is a scare tactic for bargaining power, as the company enters another contract year. The Hattiesburg location is reportedly nonunion.
Kohler Co. currently employs approximately 7,900 full- and part-time associates in Wisconsin, with approximately 2,100 full-time positions in manufacturing on the Kohler campus. The company is currently trying to fill about 275 permanent positions that are open.