Donaldson plant in Stevens Point lays off dozens, up to 200 more expected

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STEVENS POINT, Wis. (WSAW)-- The Donaldson Company manufacturing plant in Stevens Point is going through a restructuring process.

Dozens have already lost their jobs this week, With as many as 200 more over the next two years.

Donaldson Company is a $2.7-billion company with 140 locations in more than 40 countries. The plant in Stevens Point specializes in hydraulic, lube and fuel filters for large construction and agricultural machines.

They say over the last two years, business has slowed down.

"It is in response to softening demand," said Becky Cahn, Director of Corporate Communications.

Earlier this week, Donaldson laid off 35 of its current 550 employees, 29 hourly and 6 salaried. They were chosen based on seniority, with more layoffs on the horizon.

"Over the next 18-24 months, we will be eliminating approximately 150-200 positions. After the restructuring, assuming today's economic conditions, we'll then employ approximately 250-300 employees," said Cahn.

That number is more in line with the rest of the Donaldson U.S.-based plants. The Stevens Point facility is the only location the company is making changes at at this time.

"All of our plants at all times are constantly evaluating what they're seeing from market conditions and backlogs," Cahn said, "and analyzing that against staffing."

NewsChannel 7 has been told by viewers many of these jobs are moving to Mexico. When asked if that was true, this was how Cahn responded.

"They are going to other Donaldson plants," she said. 7 Investigates' Emily Davies asked, "Okay, are they largely going to the Mexico plant?"

"There is -- well, yes. So, they are planned at other facilities and one of the facilities in mind is Mexico," Cahn replied.

For the 35 employees laid off this week, Donaldson is offering outplacement services and the workforce center has also been notified.

"Donaldson remains committed to maintaining manufacturing operations in the Stevens Point plant and community," Cahn added.

The layoffs did not have to abide by the WARN Act, which says a company with more than 100 employees has to give 60 calendar days notice, because it's less than the 50 jobs the WARN Act requires, and because the additional 150-200 jobs will be lost over the next 18-24 months.