Cummins plant understands frustrations

Published 9:01 am Thursday, April 29, 2010

A spokesman for Cummins Inc. said Wednesday the company understands the frustrations of its employees.

“We understand it’s a disruption for some people and for that we’re sorry,” said Mark Land. “We understand it’s not ideal.”

At a meeting Monday at the Cummins Filtration plant in Lake Mills, employees were told they would be laid off in December instead of May.

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Some of the employees are happy to have a few more months of work, but many of the workers are upset because they used all of their vacation days and made other plans thinking they would have no job at the end of May. Further, if they quit to move on with new plans, they will not be eligible for severance packages, unemployment benefits or the government Trade Adjustment Assistance program that reimburses people for schooling if they are out of work.

The workers in the plant in Lake Mills will need to keep working until December because the plant in San Luis Potosi, Mexico has millions of dollars in back orders and can’t keep up with the demand. The jobs were supposed to have transitioned to Mexico by May.

Some workers at the plant in Lake Mills are worried that they could be fired because they think it would be cheaper for the company and said tensions are high at the plant.

“We’re not going to be looking to fire people simply to avoid paying them severance,” Land said.

He said they would be following their normal work rules, and that they would try to do a better job communicating with workers at the plant. Even though 400 employees will eventually be laid off, the plant is not closing. 130 employees will remain at the plant in Lake Mills.

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