Sheboygan County dairy farm becomes latest company to announce hundreds of layoffs

The locals consider it the cheese capital of the world, but now a key piece of that brand is being cut.

"It's a cloudy day for the City of Plymouth today," said city administrator Brian Yerges. "It's been here since the 1950's."

The Diary Farmers of America broke the news to employees Friday that the plant will close by mid-December. About 300 of them will lose their jobs.

City leaders got the surprise decision by phone.

"As an aging facility and technology reasons, they decided it doesn't fit their needs and it's cost-prohibitive to continue operations there," Yerges said.

In Waukesha, GE blames financing issues and Congress for the shut down its gas engines plant. Moving it to Canada will cost 350 jobs over 32 months.

Meanwhile, about 100 more people in Milwaukee will be temporarily laid-off at the end of November. Joy Global is closing an operating unit at its mining equipment factory.

"For the most part, companies never lay off individuals all at once," said Francisco Sanchez of the Workforce Development Board. "So I'm sure it's going to be happening in groups."

The workforce development group is preparing to interview laid off workers, help with unemployment and get them more training to find a new job.

"We pay for it," Sanchez said. "That is federal money coming through the state to us."

Plymouth leaders plan to work with similar state and local groups to help keep the jobs lost at home. The dairy plant has a payroll of more than $20 million.

Yerges said potential job opportunities include Sargento, Great Lakes Cheese, Sartori and Johnsonville, all of which have manufacturing facilities in the area.

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