Boots & Sabers

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1622, 04 Nov 15

Oscar Meyer and Quad Graphics Downsizing in Wisconsin

Ouch. That hurts.

MADISON, Wis. – Oscar Mayer, which has been part of Madison’s northeast side for nearly 100 years, is closing its Madison headquarters and manufacturing plant, the company said Wednesday.

Kraft Heinz Food Co. confirmed in a statement that it will close the Madison facility along with six of its other manufacturing facilities in North America in a staged process over the next two years as it shifts production to other plants.


In the wake of disappointing financial results, Sussex-based Quad/Graphics Inc. said Tuesday it will begin closing plants and taking other steps to cut $100 million in costs.

“Our third quarter financial performance was challenging and below our expectations,” Joel Quadracci, CEO of the commercial printing firm, said in a statement.

Quadracci said the company would move swiftly to slice costs and bring them in line with sales.

Quad did not say how many jobs it might cut, or identify any plants for closing. However, spokeswoman Claire Ho suggested that the firm’s operations in Wisconsin, where it employs 7,000 people at 14 facilities, are not high on the target list for closures.


1622, 04 November 2015


  1. Jonnyv

    Is this something that could have been addressed? It is unfortunate that we are losing jobs, and sometimes downsizing has to happen in a corporation. But, WHY ARE THEY MOVING? And why are they moving to a place that has more taxes? Maybe this is too small to involve Walker, but it isn’t a good sign for WI when businesses are leaving for IL.

  2. Steve Austin

    This is a result of Kraft-Heinz merging into one even bigger food company.

    Lots of duplicative things and food products (and jobs) that can now be eliminated.

    In the end we’ll pay more for less selection.

    Teddy Roosevelt cries another tear……

  3. Owen

    Yeah, I’m not sure there’s anything Walker could have done. Quad has been facing market pressure for years as print media continues to lose to online content. They have been grabbing onto a larger share of a shrinking pie, but that can only last so long.

    As for Oscar Mayer, the industry consolidation that’s been taking place the last few years is having its impact. The merger isn’t working out so well and they are looking for ways to cut costs ( Incidentally, they are owned principally by a Brazilian company and Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway.

  4. T of B

    I thought I read somewhere that Quad will be bringing 500 jobs to Wisconsin after closing & consolidating plants
    in other states.

  5. Owen

    I saw something like that too. Great for Wisconsin to get some more jobs, but still stinks for a great Wisconsin company to be downsizing.

  6. Stiles

    From what I hear, the age and design of the facility made it difficult to upgrade and a likely candidate for closure. Even the places like Davenport that will be expanding production as part of the consolidation will be losing jobs due to increases in automation.

    The concerning thing to me is that apparently there was no contact from WEDC or any other part of state government between the merger and the announcement this week. Meanwhile, other states like Iowa and New York were working hard with Heinz to reduce the job losses at the facilities in their states. Given what Iowa is providing in public incentives while still shedding jobs at the Davenport facility, maybe there wasn’t a good deal to be had. But I would feel more confident about our economic development efforts if WEDC could say that they were in active communication with Heinz and were not able to work something out. Wonder what the story is.

  7. Stiles

    And to be fair, it doesn’t sound like any of the federal officials (Sen. Baldwin, Sen. Johnson, Rep. Pocan) talked with Heinz at all either. The City of Madison did to a degree, but not a full court press. Like I said before, there may not have been a good deal to be had but you don’t know that for sure unless you engage.

  8. Steve Austin

    The more Wisconsin based businesses are owned by out of State or International business interests the more unpredictable and messy things will be.

  9. John Foust

    The big Tyson pepperoni and salami plant in Jefferson will suffer the same fate in years to come, I suspect. It’s more than a century old, and at some point it will make more sense to build a new one. Easier on the robots. I’ve been told they still need humans to peel the salami before slicing – they haven’t found a robot that can do it as well. Yet.

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