Outboard Marine declares layoffs, permanent closure

Waukegan, Ill. Motor and small boat maker Outboard Marine Corp.,
which twice this month has 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 two 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 Outboard Marine and serves as the
school board president in Kenosha, Wis., said the layoffs came as a
shock to employees.

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

The company did not return phone calls 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.

Outboard Marine 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 Friday, Dec. 22, Chicago Tribune.

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