About 300 people to lose their jobs

UPDATED with full story: Janesville to close Norwalk facility
Scott Seitz2
Aug 29, 2013


The Janesville Acoustics facility will close its doors in Norwalk.

Corporate officials were at Plant 60 on Wednesday morning and announced the company will begin phasing out workers through the end of 2014.

The plant presently employs about 296 people, including hourly and salaried.

(NOTE - Local officials and residents lament the loss of Janesville in a pair of stories published exclusively in Thursday's Norwalk Reflector.)

Janesville officials talked about the phase-out plans.

"These plans come in response to market pressures, including increased demand from customers to manufacture in closer proximity to their operations," the company said in a prepared statement.

"The company intends to establish a new plant in Kansas, Missouri or Nebraska before the close of 2013, a location within reach of the assembly plants of many current Janesville Acoustics customers," officials said.

The Norwalk plant is scheduled to permanently close by the end of 2014, with the earliest signs of the phase-out period commencing this fall, officials added.

"We've worked around the challenges associated with supplying customers long-distance from Norwalk," said David Cataldi, president of Janesville Acoustics.

"However, given the rising costs of logistics and the benefits of improved flexibility and efficiency that come from working nearby our business partners, we've reached a point where proximity has become essential to our continued growth," Cataldi added.

"Decisions that affect the lives of our employees and their families are extremely difficult to make," he said. "We greatly value the contributions each of our employees have made during our more than 20 years in Norwalk and are committed to supporting them during this difficult transition."

Janesville is headquartered in Southfield, Mich.

"Janesville Acoustics will immediately enter negotiations with the Chicago and Midwest Regional Joint Board, the union representatives of its employees, and is committed to working with them to assist employees throughout the extended phase-out of the plant," Janesville officials added.

Founded in 1875, Janesville also has plants and satellite offices in Mississippi, North Carolina, Germany and Mexico.

Doug Warren, local union representative at Janesville (Workers United), said officials pulled workers off first shift Wednesday and made the announcement at the Norwalk plant.

Warren said employees were stunned.

"Just like anybody, you go through a wide range of emotions," Warren said. "There was shock. People were visibly upset. It's an emotional time when you hear the company you know is closing the facility. You're talking about people's livelihoods."

The announcement appeared to catch Norwalk officials flat-footed.

"We just received the information this morning," said Ellen Heinz, executive director of the Norwalk Economic Development Corp.

"This is terrible news and we will work to see if there is any way we can keep the company here. Janesville has been one of our largest employers and a corporate partner for many years and the jobs it has provided to Norwalk and Huron County have been very important to our community," Heinz added.

"Although we have worked with the company on many issues and communicate with their representatives on a regular basis, more information is still coming in. According to their corporate leadership, they came to this decision because our local plant doesn't meet their logistical needs in regards to the proximity to the clients they serve," Heinz said.

"We have reached out to our area partners, regional leadership and the state to coordinate efforts to do everything possible and to support the workforce and the community," she added.



So by closing 1 facility and opening 3 they are ensuring they get more raises, bonus checks and "save their own skin"? Wouldn't that move provide more jobs for Americans? Eh, whatever, the NR comment section probably isn't the place to debate even the simplest of business concepts.


Norbillies.....I agree with you. Some simply do not get it and will always see the glass half empty.

Really are you ...

Yeah well Janesville use to have three or four other plants here in Norwalk. Close down four or five here to open some out west. Right. Looks like they are growing.


And if these plants out west operate at higher capacities, produce more, and employ more - than yes, that's growth.

Really are you ...

At one time, Janesville claimed some type of operations in 3 or more buildings in a 15 mile radius of Norwalk. They had employed more than the 300 that are about to lose their place of employment. Sound design sound solutions. A good concept, too bad they did not pursue every auto manufacturer while here in Norwalk. Every automobile has sound deadening material in it, Chevrolet volt to Peterbuilt Class 8 truck to a Coachman motorhomes. All avenues of generating income have been exhausted to keep its business in Norwalk. Probably not. Logistically, time is the only negatively impacting factor. One truck driver pulling tens of thousands of dollars worth of goods, compared to, 20 to 30 hourly personnel utilized to produce the goods to fill that trailer. Really, maybe if that company owned the building they made those goods in the company would make more money. Leasing and renting costs more to the tenants in the long run than if they had actually owned the building or buildings. It would be a rough start, but as time passes, equity built would be borrowing power in the future. Janesville doesn't own their buildings, so there are no losses when they leave. Probably not a very thought out business plan from the beginning, if they had actually planned on staying in Norwalk. Eh.


and if you were an exec??? sound jealous..

Mr Bean

Do some research---Right to work states, once you remove all the BS, shows a slightly higher standard of living when compared to non-right to work. Study the problem in Detroit, get by the BS, and see what destroyed that city. Indiana, Wisconsin, Michigan, are now right to work---that sssssssssss you hear is the jobs sliding across the state lines. Complain all you want about corporate greed, but they do provide jobs, and facts are facts---I am not anti-Union, but the pendelum has swung too far----the days of extracting money from the workers, to buy votes, politicians, and influence has got to change---take another look at Detroit----

Scranton Tibbs

Astonished that in a county with record unemployment and drug problems that we have so many political,economic and business experts among us. I am humbled.

Sitting In The ...

The goal of any business is to minimize cost while increasing profit...period. They're not "greedy" they're just good businessmen. The reason the executives make so much money is because they went to college and learned how to successfully run the company which in turn makes them the most important part of the company. The workers have a false belief that because they have been being paid 20.00 an hour for decades they’re the most important aspect of the company. The truth is there always will be 1000 people waiting to take your job and in the business world your seniority means nothing. So why keep a business in one place when you can cut down costs moving it somewhere else? I’m sure they didn’t want to fire almost 300 people but if they didn’t do this the whole company might go under.

believe it

Glad to see someone with some sense instead of just pointing fingers and name calling. Everyone just always thinks that business people are greedy...no, it's called business. You have to do what is right for the business to succeed. It absolutely sucks for these people to lose their jobs, you never want to see that. I also don't understand the people blaming the Norwalk mayor? What the heck do they have to do with it? I don't even live in Norwalk and find that hilarious.




less money to buy drugs


You can tell a business person or anyone that has business sense vs those who have no clue by reading their posts.

The goal of any business....large or small is to generate revenue, to grow so they can expand and hire more, provide more. Kudos to those who start business's and make great money....that is called Capitalism.

If you do not like where you are in life, or what you are making you have 2 choices. 1. Further your education or 2. Quit bitching.


tipical liberal comment. Janesville was creating TONS of revenue for themselves and there shareholders, the bottom line is it just wasnt enough to satisfy there greed. You really think ANY ceo or upper managment official was hurting for or losing money to the extent they are now claiming?? Get real people.

believe it

I know arnmcrmn is not a liberal so your first three words of your reply are false. If you owned a company or were CEO of one I'm sure you would think differently. Trust me, I'm not for businesses leaving, closing, outsourcing, etc. but I also understand business related decisions.


Apparently you do not understand the difference between a liberal and a conservative. Your post if the liberal rant.


All companies work on budgets. these budgets come from prior years. If you do not hit your budget then you have to cut costs, labor, whatever it takes to get back to at least "even". If you are a CEO, reg worker or whom ever, if you do not help hit these budget numbers, you are replaced. I am sure if you look at the profit and loss statement for this factory here in Norwalk, it probably was missing budget. At that point, you cut, revamp, move or close something to get back to point A. It may have been another factory of Janesville and it was smarter to close this one because of logistics or labor or yes- the union. The bottom line is money. If it is not made in one spot, then it HAS to be made in another. They closed this spot not to screw 300 people, but to hit the numbers and make money. It is not greed. It is not bonus checks. It is the whole business picture making money. If you people don't think so, open a place up. Have 10 people when you only need 5. Keep $10,000 of inventory on your shelf when you only need $5,000. THEN- let's see how fast you fire people in order for YOU to make money. If you don't do this, then your an idiot and should not be in business. It is not about hurting people. It is about losing money. You do not stay in business by losing money. All of you that think it is the mayor, Obama or your nieghbor, it's not. It's the business plan that has been in place and has to be met, or there will be NO Janesvilles anywhere. Learn a little about how a business runs before you blame someone.

swiss cheese kat's picture
swiss cheese kat

It's a done deal folks. Get over it.


Rigorous thank you for your understanding and advice... and by the way I love this country but I am more than frustrated with the direction we have been moving over the past 10 years or so...they take away our good paying jobs and replace them with hotel and food jobs that pay a fraction of the jobs that were lost. Expences rise and rise while wages go down and down....since ww2 we as a country have never produced less goods that are made here at home as now.... we need that change we were promised and we need it now. Now is not the time to be relaxed and comfortable with gradualism, we need that promise that was made and we need it now...


You have entitlement issues... i make more now than ever.... if i lose my job i would have 5 of my biggest competitors bidding for my services tomorrow. Its because i have worked my butt off perfecting my job and creating value for the company i work for.... if i make my boss lots of money, i will get rewarded. I am not waiting for any promises from a mayor a president... lol... i am not entitled to any job. I create my own value to the workplace

Cliff Cannon

@BrendandBtryce: " I create my own value to the workplace " Amen.

Just wish more people understood there is ---always a need--- for hard working, punctual, honest workers with good attitudes. If more Americans understood that, we might not be dealing with as many as these employment problems, as we face today, would we ?


Like I have always told my employees, you have to make yourself hard to replace. If that is doing small extra things that are not required of you, then do it. I take care of my employees but I cannot afford to pay a secretary 30 dollars an hour because that is what they think they are worth.

Why do business owners and CEO's make more? Because they are the one's keeping the business going. Wether it be coming up with a new product or figuring a way to make more per unit they are selling. I've known a few CEO's in my 15 year stint out of college and let me tell you, they do not sit at home and just collect checks and stuff money under their mattress. They travel A LOT, are away from home A LOT and many put in 60-80 hours of work in a week. What separates them from a factory worker working 7 days a week (56 hours)? 2 KEY things. 1. Education level 2. Business mindset.

Not everyone can be a CEO or a business creator or owner. Many do not have the mindset to do so. If that was the case, everyone would be their own boss and run their own business.

What everyone has to realize is that this country takes workers on all levels to function. From the janitor to Steve Jobs at Apple and everyone in between. Do I believe working for minimum wage would be hard to live on......yes. But if one is setting their life goals on minimum wage, then they simply are selling themselves short. You cannot live decent and have a family on minimum wage these days. But minimum wage jobs are not meant for that either. That is what everyone has to understand.

Minimum wage was created so business owners wouldn't screw over HS and college kids working summer jobs. If you are looking for a long term job and there isn't much room over minimum wage to earn, then HELLO, its probably not a good long term goal job.

People have to realize that this country is getting more and more competitive DAILY. As a young kid you have to have some type of skill set or college education or you are going to find out real quick how hard life is going to be.

swiss family

maybe you did not read far enough into the story.. These jobs are not going overseas.. they are staying in the USA but are being moved closer to the companies that they supply to..so being punctual , and drug free , really has nothing to do with this move .. in my opinion


If I remember correctly Norwalk knew Janesville was leaving at least a year ago.

Really are you ...

Steve Jobs and Bill Gates had very successful college careers. Drop outs, helped them a lot right? They had a passion, that is what drove their careers to success. A little knowledge to start, and utilized the expertise of others to become what they were/ are now. One person going to college does not have every detail hammered out before they start or run a successful business. They had a team of people helping them build their legacy. Not every "in" profession will be a "in" profession as time moves on. At least Janesville is keeping their business in the United States.


As a business owner I can tell you that most colleges do not teach how to run a business. They give you basic guidelines that that is it. A business model in Columbus vs Norwalk could be two different approaches and mindsets. I agree, it take determination and a will to overcome failure. Not every business owner is a winner winner. Many have failed once, twice maybe a 3rd time before they got it right.


Brenda & Bryce youvare one of them guys that thinks it cant happen to you? Huh.... I am a electrical engineer and will have another job fairly easy, that's not the point of this story or the comments at all... you need to see outside of that tiny little box. People depend, the u.s people depend on these jobs to put food on the table and to provide for the kids. They are devistating entire communities with the constant closing of the factories that supported this economy for a half a century. They are replaced with fast food openings and serving jobs.... you don't see the connection here guys....


100+ yrs ago ENTIRE cities abandon?? Gold dried up, coal mine bare, oil well dried up, cattle drives gone to train. I am sure alot of these BOOM towns, there were people who like the area, town, job, friends, etc. That was NOT a period of time where AMERICAN's gave up and whined. WHY NOW?


Nah, your missing my point. I responded to the people that feel entitled to a job because a politician promised more jobs... the same people that feel that fast food jobs, grocery, etc... are beneath them. Andyou are right, I am one of those people that wont lose their job. I know my value to the industry I am in. I am connected and put in more time and energythan any of my competitors.


20$ an hour _ 8 $ an hour .... huh let me think......ha ha oh yea well there not entitled to them jobs anyways. What's wrong with these people today.... your a idiot. Wake up blind, brainwashed, retardo