In late September, Superior Die Set Corporation, a fourth-generation, family-owned manufacturer of steel and aluminum products, notified the Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development of its intent to close the company's plant in Oak Creek, WI.
According to Superior Die, the move comes as a result of decreased order volume, and the layoffs could happen soon. By November 20, 2023, 133 employees might be out of work. Workers, their collective bargaining reps and other local officials were notified on September 21.
Superior Die operates out of a 150,000-square-foot facility, making die sets, mold bases and offering several other services, like fab and forging, to toolmakers, contract manufacturers and OEMs across pretty much every market. Since 1923, the company has stressed the importance of full in-house production capabilities, and some hope remains that a potential buyer will keep the plant open.
According to the company, it is working with a strategic buyer to take over operations in Oak Creek, and an agreement could be finalized soon. While Superior Die is still taking other offers, the potential buyer reportedly has the expertise and resources to improve operational efficiency and expand capabilities.
Most Read on IEN:
- Podcast: Kia's 'Wake-Up Call'; Old Toilet Factory Closes; Tesla's Price Cuts
- Rolls-Royce Cutting Up to 2,500 Jobs
- Gen Z in Manufacturing: Employers Should Put Emphasis on 'We Will Train You'
- Century-Old Wisconsin Manufacturer Expands
The company stresses that all contracts and orders will be completed and will conduct business as usual throughout the transition.
In compliance with the WARN Act, the company let the staff know that should the purchase fall through, Superior Die Set's doors will close on November 20.
In the letter to the WDWD, Andrew Chadwick, global director of safety and human resources, said it was a "difficult decision," but there was work to be done regardless of future events, and the company appreciates "everyone's continued focus."
A majority of the potentially affected workers (31) are machine technicians and operators (10). Some 17 surface finishing operators could be out of a job, as well as five welder techs and about 25 in management roles, among others.
Under a labor agreement, bumping rights exist, but the company stresses that all union employees, repped by the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers, would be laid off.
The potential deal and closure won't include Superior's two European facilities.