The economy is shedding jobs at an alarming rate; in the First District, the most recent bad news is the closing of the Northern Engraving plant in Spring Grove, population 1304 (2000 census), about 350 families in Minnesota's most southeastern county. Lay-off will be on Friday, February 13, according to an area television station.
KTTC-TV reported in Spring Grove residents shocked by plant closing:
Spring Grove, MN (KTTC-TV) -- Many Spring Grove residents are suffering from a blow that came late last week. The city's largest employer, Northern Engraving announced it is closing the 209-employee plant in February.
As you can imagine, employees are upset. Many of them have worked there for more than 30 years. Steve Kemp, an employee and a Spring Grove City Council member, says many thought their jobs would be safe when their plant switched from predominately making car parts to appliances. When the company closed down the Waukon, Iowa plant, it gave the employees the option to move to the Minnesota plant.
It's also not the greatest news for the city. Spring Grove mayor, Karen Folstad says close to 50% of the plant's employees live in Spring Grove. . . .
We met Steve, a DFL activist and officer, at a public forum held just before the historic flooding that drenched Southeastern Minnesota in August 2007.
The Rochester Post Bulletin reported in Spring Grove's largest employer to close its doors:
However, Steve Kemp, a Spring Grove City Council member and the safety manager at Northern Engraving, does not see just gloom ahead.
"I don't have the attitude that the sky is falling," he said Sunday. "I have the attitude that we're in a tough spot, but we'll work our way out of it. And maybe we'll be better for it."
Northern Engraving plans to begin letting workers go on Feb. 13.
The plant has been busy:
so it sounds as if lack of work elsewhere in the company is helping to trigger this move.
The local town paper, the Spring Grove Herald, reports in Northern Engraving in Spring Grove to close its doors on Feb. 13:
The Post Bulletin notes how Lawmakers react to announced closing of Spring Grove's 208-employee plant:
Area lawmakers are scrambling to pull together state assistance and resources in the wake of Northern Engraving's announcement that it will begin closing its 208-worker plant early next year.
State Rep.-elect Greg Davids said he was planning to meet with city leaders Wednesday to discuss possible tax incentives or other benefits that could be offered to Northern Engraving to keep the plant open. If the company can't be persuaded, city leaders will discuss economic tools that could be used to attract a new business to the plant, Davids said.
"We've just got to put everything on the table and see if we can turn a negative into a positive," said Davids, a Republican from Preston. . . .
. . .Meanwhile, state Sen. Sharon Erickson Ropes, DFL-Winona, has been coordinating with county officials about the possibility of a forum for laid-off workers where they could find out about available resources, such as job re-training, health care and fuel assistance.
"We want to make sure the laid-off workforce knows where they can
go; (so) they are not just dumped on the street in a snowbank," she
said. . . .
The Caledonia Argus's Charlie Warner reported in Downturn in economy increases business at Semcac’s food shelf:
As more and more people are getting laid off, they are turning to their local food shelves for help. The Semcac Food Shelf in Caledonia is no different.
According to Iyla Mulvenna, the number of households the local food shelf is serving increased from 200 families in 2007 to over 250 families through November this year…and the number continues to increase.
We'll see how things go for Spring Grove. While the National Engraving employees should be able to collect unemployment, those readers who want spread a bit of Christmas cheer to those in need can find out how on Semcac's website.
This is the second large lay-off to hit southeastern Minnesota within recent months; according to the PB, Ropes noted that 150 families were hit by lay-offs at TRW because of downturns in the nation's automotive industry.