Joerns Healthcare in Stevens Point to cut jobs - WAOW - Newsline 9, Wausau News, Weather, Sports

Joerns Healthcare in Stevens Point to move operations, cut jobs

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STEVENS POINT (WAOW)--A long time Stevens Point business has announced it will move most of its operations out of Central Wisconsin and into plants in Texas, Arkansas and Mexico. It's a move that will leave 140-200 employees at Joerns without work.

Company officials say the jobs will be gone within a year, but they say it's all to help customers.

Stevens Point Mayor Andrew Halverson says local and state officials have been working with Joerns management for the last two years. He says the state offered millions of dollars in incentives and tax credits to keep the company in Stevens Point, but it wasn't enough.

"One has to ask one's self when these kinds of numbers are on the table, what is going to be enough to truly trump federal trade practices that are encouraging companies to move to work states and most negatively foreign countries," said Halverson.

The Joerns CEO said in a statement that the move was made because customers are demanding lower costs. He said they must respond quickly to keep up with competition. A move Plover resident Deborah Anstett says is a bad one.

"It's a real shame for the community and for the company as well. We have an excellent work force here, very hard workers and I think they'll regret it in the long run," Anstett said.

Mayor Halverson says this change came at a price.

"They need to be more profitable, lots of competition out there in the business world," Halverson said. "We understand and respect that, but at the same time, free trade is not free. It comes at a great price and these employees and their families are going to pay the ultimate price because of that," Halverson continued.

State Senator Julie Lassa says she was disappointed in the announcement. She released a statement saying that it doesn't seem Joerns was ever serious about keeping operations local. The mayor says steps need to be taken for those employees moving forward.

"That means our commitment to job creation and retention has to be reaffirmed today more than anything and our focus needs to shift on ensuring these employees continue to have the skills they need to succeed," Halverson said.

The Department of Workforce Development says they have not received a formal notice of the layoffs. They say this is required 60 days in advance when more than 50 people are losing their jobs. Officials say they still have time, but the sooner they file, the sooner the state can offer programs to help those employees.

The more than 100-year-old company said in the release that they will keep 25-30 jobs in Stevens Point. They say those jobs will be customer and technical service positions.

Online Reporter: Cassandra Vinch

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