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.

Comments

peace375

Get a clue David Cataldi, president of Janesville Acoustics - you don't even know how long "your company" has been part of this community. It's been here for over 40 years (that's a bit more than 20) and your dumbass has never even liked Norwalk, or maybe its just Ohio, as you are from Michigan, you moved corporate offices to Michigan and built the new plant there. Thanks for screwing with the lives of 300 FAMILIES!

Snoozer

Im so thankful that I got out of janesville years ago.
I got out and never looked back! who wants to work seven days a week and get treated like dirt. there are some good people there and I feel for them.
There are a few ways to fight back! 300 employees put your money together 401ks your savings houses etc, and buy the building and start your own janesville and be their competitor!
also since they have a point system everyone call off work 3 days in a row that will cause a hiccup in their operation but I dont suggest that.
The union is probably paid off by the company, Cant imagine them loseing all that union due money without a fight?
But the closing of this plant will affect the whole city! retail, restaurants, housing, taxs etc.
Dont stay on unemployment if you can help it, you will get in a rut and the unemployment will run out!
Go to school for free if you can or think about moving away from this area. Many will lose their homes over this but when one door closes another one will open eventually.
I know its a helpless feeling and very stressful and depressing but your not alone, many local residents have already gone thru what janesville employees are going to experience.
Good luck!

nuthin4u

I absolutely understand the concept's and the difference between liberal and conservative, ALTEREGO...eat a d**k. And yes WE understand that any business' main function is to produce revenue, which this company has been doing for 50 plus years thanks to it's hard working and dedicated Norwalk citizens. I happen to have both conserative and liberal views, and I think that simply summing it up to "buisness is business" is extremely one sided, liberal and cavalier way to sum up an extremely larger issue, corperate greed. Which most liberals insist isn't and issue. But, I also agree that a mayor simply can't help what a business does, if they want to move they're gonna move and big business like this, they're gonna go where they can make more money...no matter what the cost to the community they leave behind. My CONSERVATIVE view, is that the employer has a responsability to the community and it's employee's, not just to it's shareholders. The LIBERAL side leans the other way, in that the employer has the freedom to just do whatever they want.

But if people like you alterego and you norbillies are nieve enough to believe that this company is going to move to these non-union, right to work area's and start providing "good job's and growth" as you call it to those communities, then you should do some background on Janesville's hiring habits when the union happens to miss what they're doing. From a former employee of more than 10 years ago, I can all but gaurantee you they won't be hiring skilled laborer's and paying them what they are worth like they were doing in Norwalk. They'll be hiring young, unskilled teenager's from temp agencies and walk in revolving door employee's. Not dedicated long term workers. This way, just like they've tried to get away with doing in Norwalk for years, they can pay them 9 or 10 bucks and hour with no benefits and the ability to fire or replace them before they get the chance to "qualify" for a permanent position. The only reaason this didn't fly in Norwalk was because once the union caught wind of it, they wouldn't just roll over and let them keep filling bid jobs with temp agency workers, because it was a direct violation of their contact, which by the way violating contract was a common practice at Janesville. So now they're moving to an area where they won't have to fight a Union when they start doing shady crap to get away with paying skilled workers. And in my opinion, that's the bigger picture.

Anyway, good luck to the 300.

Really are you ...

The movie 300, was about the Spartans. Make a comedy, 296, Janesville, The Life of the American Worker.

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