OMC announces indefinite plant closing

Waukegan, Ill. Motor and small boat maker Outboard Marine Corp.
(OMC), which twice last month announced significant layoffs, has
sent a letter to its employees saying it must “shut down operations
indefinitely.”

The letter, dated Dec. 20, follows an announcement by the
company three weeks ago that it was laying off 700 factory workers
at its Waukegan plant until Jan. 15. Earlier this month, the
company said it was reducing its work force worldwide by 1,000 for
cost-cutting reasons.

In the letter, provided to the media by an employee who said she
was laid off, Jim Rusk, vice-president of human resources, said the
company was shutting down and permanently laying off 1,190 workers
from its Waukegan facilities.

Rusk explained that the layoffs come after efforts to “secure
additional financing” were unsuccessful.

Yolanda Adams, who worked at OMC and serves as the school board
president in Kenosha, said the layoffs came as a shock to
employees.

“We had rumors flying that this was supposed to happen, but not
be this massive,” Adams told Kenosha radio station WLIP. “People
were very upset, crying and saying their goodbyes.”

The company did not return phone calls last Thursday for
comment.

Earlier in the week, company spokesman Gary Beckett said the
recreational marine market is down, prompting an extended shutdown
of the plant.

OMC makes and sells boats, engines and marine accessories under
several brand names, including Chris-Craft, Lowe and Evinrude. OMC
held an estimated 32 percent share of the U.S. outboard engine
market as of last Dec. 31, according to a report in the Dec. 22
Chicago Tribune.

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