LAKESHORE REGIONAL NEWS: Door County, Kewaunee County, Manitowoc County, and Sheboygan County

Manitowoc facility closes, 145 without work, Mayor Nickels responds

Local News

MANITOWOC, Wis. (WFRV) — A manufacturing operations facility in Manitowoc closed its doors Monday, putting 145 employees without a job.

Tramontina USA, located in Sugar Land, Texas, announced “it will cease manufacturing operations at Tramontina U.S. Cookware, a subsidiary company, located in Manitowoc, WI.”

In a statement sent to Local 5, the company says:

“This decision announced July 8, 2019, will result in job losses for 145 employees in Manitowoc, and will also result in a workforce reduction of approximately 100 positions in Sugar Land operations.”

Tramontina USA

Mayor Justin Nickels responded Monday with the following Facebook post:

For those who are displaced from the Tramontina announcement today and are looking for a job, please call my office or…

Posted by Justin Nickels on Monday, July 8, 2019

Marcelo Borges, President & CEO of Tramontina USA says, “This is an extremely difficult announcement for both Tramontina U.S. Cookware and Tramontina USA, and we certainly recognize the impact on our employees and the Manitowoc and Sugar Land communities. Due to the production cost increases over several years, our shareholders decided to cease manufacturing operations at our U.S. facility as a strategic step towards consolidating our production within the group’s existing factories in Brazil, which allows us to focus more on product development, sales and logistics in the U.S. The move also reinforces our commitment and investment in our U.S. business, since Tramontina USA is the second largest division of the Tramontina Group.”

People in Manitowoc and nearby Two Rivers seemed surprised and disappointed by the news.

“It’s gonna hurt everybody,” said Fran Kornaly, who owns the nearby Sandpiper Bar & Grill. “It’s like a ripple effect. It’s gonna hurt the grocery stores, it’s gonna hurt the restaurants… anything around here, it’s gonna hurt everything.”

The company reports it has been looking for another company to buy the Manitowoc location, but say nothing has been finalized.

Tramontina has domestically manufactured aluminum cookware vessels at the Manitowoc facility since 2005. Assembly and packaging of the cookware has been located in Sugar Land.

Tramontina goes on to say they “made substantial equipment and facility investments at the Manitowoc factory to provide greater efficiencies.”

The company goes on to say that despite this, “the company has also absorbed numerous cost increases over the last several years, including but not limited to increases in raw materials, labor and freight expenses. There also has been cost increases from higher tariffs assessed on components used in making cookware, such as glass lids, chrome plated handles, aluminum and steel studs, rivets and screws.”

The cost increases reportedly made Tramontina less competitive in the housewares market.

According to the statement provided to Local 5, Tramontina says they will “diversify its manufacturing within the company’s global factory network, including 10 factories in Brazil.”

Local 5 will update this story as information becomes available.

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