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'We all put our hearts and souls into this company'; One of the region's largest brands eyes massive buyout

Posted at 9:04 PM, Nov 20, 2023
  • The Kohler Company is drawing close to a massive buyout with Platinum Equity, a private firm out of California. Platinum Equity would obtain majority control of Kohler Energy.
  • United Auto Workers Branch 833 works very closely with Kohler. UAW 833 serves around 700 members in Kohler Energy alone.
  • Tim Tayloe, UAW 833 president, says that the purchasing company is planning on honoring the current contract. That deal runs through 2028.

One of the largest brands in the region is drawing near to a massive buyout. The Kohler Company is planning to sell a majority of Kohler Energy to a private firm in California. 
In early November, Kohler announced their intention to set up Kohler Energy with Platinum Equity as the majority owner.

United Auto Workers Branch 833 works closely with the Kohler Company. UAW 833 President Tim Tayloe feels confident the workers will be treated properly in the buyout.

"Right now, we're being told that its business partners that they are taking on, or who's buying it, is going to honor the contract,” Tayloe said. “We should be alright then."

That contract, which represents around 700 workers in Kohler Energy, was signed in July of this year according to UAW's website. It won better wages and benefits for Kohler workers and will last until 2028.

In a statement regarding the decision, Kohler CEO, David Kohler, said, “This important moment in our journey signifies our commitment to deepening the focus and investment in Kohler’s Kitchen & Bath and Hospitality businesses. The timing is right due to the strength of the energy business.”

"I believe that the generator divisions will still maintain a profit level that it will be profitable to keep it right here,” Tayloe said. "We all put our hearts and souls into this company."

On the other side, Platinum Equity Co-President Jacob Kotzubei said, “We appreciate Kohler’s confidence in our ability to build on that legacy and support the energy business's continued growth. We have great respect for David and the Kohler leadership team."

A statement that Tim hopes and believes will include his Kohler workers.

"We work in the community, go to church in the community, kids go to school in this community. So, the company honors the contract and business as usual."

Tim thinks the final agreement will be announced in April of 2024.