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Johnsonville plant closing as part of acquisition, hundreds of jobs in question

Johnsonville Meadowside Facility
Posted at 4:07 PM, Jan 03, 2024
and last updated 2024-01-04 10:16:53-05

SHEBOYGAN FALLS — Johnsonville is closing one of its plants in Sheboygan County by the end of 2024 following the acquisition of its co-packer, Salm Partners.

The Meadowside plant in Sheboygan Falls will close by the end of this year. Its Countryside and Riverside manufacturing facilities will remain fully operational.

Meadowside facility at Johnsonville
The Meadowside Facility is one of three plants on Johnsonville's Sheboygan Falls campus. At least some of its operations will move to a Salm Partners facility in Denmark, Wisconsin. Salm is another sausage company.

The company says all 390 Meadowside members will have a position through at least the end of June.

The company said it anticipates "some workforce adjustments as the organization transitions a portion of its ready-to-eat sausage production to Salm throughout 2024."

"It sucks for everybody because we have all that experience there."

An employee at the Johnsonville plant in question spoke on the condition of anonymity. He says he learned of the closure after his mom texted him.

"She said go check my buddy's Facebook," he said. "That's how I saw. I didn't think they'd shut down one of the plants because on our good days, we can push out 80,000 pounds a night."

It's a blow for this man. He already has a son he's taking care of with another child on the way.

"I just hope there is nobody else there that is expecting," he said. "to get this news and the due date is also around the time they close. I mean, they could have at least warned us something might happen. This suddenly? It's not cool at all. A lot of disgruntled people."

According to a statement, "In addition, those Members who remain with Johnsonville through June will receive a stay-on bonus. Johnsonville will also work to retain as many Members as possible in its Sheboygan Falls production positions – and across its other production facilities – when Meadowside production ceases."

Johnsonville CEO Don Fussner shared, “While this acquisition is key to the long-term success of our RTE sausage business – and the larger fully cooked sausage category in general – it’s not lost on us how a plant closing is distressing for our Members to hear. We value their contributions and expertise, and we are working diligently to retain as many of our valued Members as we can in other roles here in Sheboygan Falls and across our manufacturing network.”

Salm produces cooked sausage and hot dogs from its two production plants in Denmark, Wis. Salm Partners will remain its own entity.

Financial details of the acquisition are not available.