Master Lock to Close Milwaukee Factory, Outsource 400 American Jobs

Master Lock, the United States-based padlock manufacturer, is reportedly set to close its factory in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, next year with plans to outsource over 400 American employees’ jobs.

Officials with the United Auto Workers (UAW), who represent many of Master Lock’s employees, said Master Lock executives have informed employees that the Milwaukee plant will shutter by the end of March next year and that their jobs will be outsourced to other existing North American plants.

Americans at the Milwaukee plant produce parts for locks that are then sent to a plant in Mexico where the locks are assembled.

“We are disgusted, yet again, as another profitable corporation has decided to close the doors of a manufacturing icon in corporate America’s never-ending quest for profit, without any regard for the people amassing their wealth,” UAW representatives wrote in a statement:

The company informed workers today that their jobs would be outsourced beginning this fall, 102 years after the company was founded, in Milwaukee. This latest example is brought to you by Master Lock and parent company Fortune Brands, whose Outdoors and Securities business segment alone had over $2 billion in sales last year. [Emphasis added]

CEO Nicholas Fink enjoys annual compensation of $10 million though his greed won’t tolerate $20 per hour UAW Members in Milwaukee. The average Master Lock employee would have to work 240 years to match Fink’s earnings. [Emphasis added]

Mike Cira watches over an automated machine at a Master Lock manufacturing plant in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, U.S. on Tuesday, Jan. 10, 2012. (Andy Manis/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

Employees, from left, Sharon Schrameck, Joanne Pinkowski and Bob Krueger pose with combination locks made with American flags at a Master Lock manufacturing plant in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, U.S. on Tuesday, Jan. 10, 2012. (Andy Manis/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

In a statement, Master Lock executives said the outsourcing scheme had nothing to do with employee performance or a lack of skills.

“This decision is not a reflection of the skills, performance or commitment of the Milwaukee workforce, and it was not made lightly,” executives told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. “Rather, this is an opportunity to continue to enhance our supply chain resilience, maximize potential growth of the business and maintain our competitiveness into the future.”

The Master Lock plant, as the UAW noted, is one of Milwaukee’s “last manufacturing facilities in this storied blue-collar city” after having been hit with decades of deindustrialization as a result of United States free trade policy and globalization.

At its peak in the 1980s, the Master Lock plant employed about 1,300 Americans. In 2012, then-President Obama visited the plant as a victory for reshoring jobs back to the U.S.

“About a decade ago, Master Lock invited President Barack Obama to this same facility to celebrate the in-shoring of jobs,” Milwaukee Mayor Cavalier Johnson (D) said. “Now, the company is going in the opposite direction, defying the trend of growing manufacturing jobs in the United States.”

John Binder is a reporter for Breitbart News. Email him at [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter here.


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