Algoma Hardwoods to close; 180 to lose jobs
ALGOMA – A strong jobs market might lessen the impact of the decision to close the Algoma Hardwoods plant.
Masonite International Corp. notified the city Tuesday it would close its architectural door and mineral core manufacturing plant at 1001 Perry St. next year. The company said 180 employees would lose jobs because of the shutdown. Layoffs will begin about Jan. 13, 2017, and be complete when the plant ceases operations on Aug. 31.
A silver lining might be that the jobs market is healthy, said Jim Golembeski, executive director of Bay Area Workforce Development Board in Green Bay. He said displaced workers from The Manitowoc Co. and Brillion Iron Works have had luck finding new employment.
“We have employers calling us and saying ‘How do we talk to these people?'” he said. “It’s a very robust job market all around them. When we had a job fair in Manitowoc, we had to cut the employer participation off at 75 because that was all the room we had.”
RELATED: Brillion Iron Works to be shut down
Nonetheless, the unexpected announcement is devastating to families heading into the holiday season, said City Administrator Jeff Wiswell.
“They obviously are concerned about the welfare of their families and the future. That’s at the kitchen table level,” he said. “For the city of Algoma, it’s a disconcerting situation. We looked at Hardwood as being a stable employer in the city of Algoma for over 100 years.”
Masonite said it would close the plant because the work can be done at other locations. The Tampa, Fla., company purchased Algoma Hardwoods in 2012. At the time, Algoma employed about 350 people and reported 2011 revenue of more than $60 million.
“This difficult decision was driven by factors beyond the control of the Algoma employees who have worked very hard to make this plant successful,” said Fred Lynch, president and CEO. “The closure is a result of the need to simplify the business’ network of door plants and the overlap of Algoma’s service area with our other facilities.”
The tax impact of the closing had not been determined.
“We are just finishing the city budget. This is going to be one more punch to the gut, so to speak,” he said. “It’s not only a reduction in the property tax levy, but most importantly in terms of personal property taxes on the machinery.”
There will be other impacts as well, such as on the real estate market, he said.
Wiswell is hopeful other employers will absorb the workers. The city supports more than 1,000 manufacturing jobs at a wide range of companies, and there are other manufacturers not far away, such as Bay Shipbuilding in Sturgeon Bay.
“Our manufacturers are always looking for employees. Hopefully, we can place many of them,” he said.
Bay Area Workforce Development Board would provide displacement services that include workshops on a variety of topics, such as resume writing and interviewing, job search strategies and budgeting, information about programs and resources, and career and resource fairs.
“We definitely want to help them look at salary and benefit levels for when they re-enter the workforce,” Golembeski said.
This article originally appeared on Green Bay Press Gazette: Algoma Hardwoods to close; 180 to lose jobs