WEDC award recipients outsourced Wisconsin jobs to foreign countries
MADISON (WKOW) -- At least two companies that received financial awards from the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC) later outsourced jobs to foreign countries, with one of those companies receiving a second WEDC after the fact.
A 27 News investigation has uncovered that both the Eaton Corporation and Plexus Corporation received millions of dollars in financial awards from WEDC, only to later lay off workers whose jobs were taken by employees at the companies' foreign facilities.
In 2011, WEDC awarded Eaton Corp. with a $1 million tax credit for job creation and retention at its manufacturing facility in Menomonee Falls. In April of 2013, Eaton laid off 163 employees at its Cooper Power Systems plant in Pewaukee and announced it was moving those jobs to Mexico. Less than a year later, WEDC awarded Eaton Corp. with another $1.36 million in tax credits for a proposed $54 million expansion at that same Cooper Power Systems Plant in Pewaukee.
WEDC awarded Plexus Corp. with tax credits of $2 million in 2011 and $15 million in 2012. One month after receiving the second award, Plexus announced it was laying off 116 workers from its facility in Neenah. The U.S. Department of Labor has since ruled those employees, as well as all Plexus employees laid off since December of 2011, are eligible to receive federal Trade Adjustment Assistance benefits. Those benefits are only available to employees who were laid off because their jobs were outsourced to foreign countries.
27 News has asked WEDC if it was aware these companies had outsourced Wisconsin jobs after receiving financial awards and is awaiting a response.
But the leader of one Wisconsin business group calls the news disturbing.
"What's troubling to me about this is that these companies were given tax dollars explicitly to keep jobs here in Wisconsin," said Lori Compas, Executive Director of the Wisconsin Business Alliance. "To take taxpayers' money and then turn around and fire hundreds of Wisconsin workers is a real slap in the face."
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