‘Today was more than a worker protest, it was a community protest’: Janesville employees stand up against plant closure

JANESVILLE, Wis. — Employees at the Hufcor manufacturing facility are protesting the company’s decision to move production and over 150 jobs to Mexico.

Employees, families and neighbors came together today in Janesville to stand up for their jobs.

The Los Angeles based capital investment firm OpenGate owns Hufcor. Last week, they announced they will be closing the facility and laying off more than 150 employees.

“It’s more than a job, it’s a career. It’s an investment in the community,” said Wisconsin Senator Chris Larson.

The 100,000-square-foot building has been in Janesville for 120 years with many employees having over 20 years of service at the plant.

Michelle Hilt and her husband have been working for Hufcor for 23 years.

“One day you wake up and you think you’re just going to work and pay your bills and do what you’re supposed to do,” said Hilt. “Then the next day you come in and you find out you don’t have a job anymore. Your whole family doesn’t have a job anymore. It’s a lot.”

According to a document filed to the state, 166 employees will be laid off starting August 3rd.

Employees like Hilt have given their all to the company.

“I’ve been here for the good times to the bad times,” said Hilt.

Workers and community members will continuing fighting for the jobs until they see change.