It’s been quite an active couple weeks for South Milwaukee.
Neighbors upset with a sex offender living near Lakeview School. A chemical leak at Grobschmidt Pool. An explosion at Appleton Electric. A serious car accident sending five people to the hospital.
Indeed, I missed quite a bit while I was on vacation at the Georgia coast. But the biggest news came from, and continues to come from, Bucyrus International.
It started with a story in The Business Journal of Milwaukee that Bucyrus would officially make the former Midwest Airlines headquarters in Oak Creek its new “home base” once it moves its senior management there later this year.
Bucyrus CEO Tim Sullivan confirmed this fact in a story by reporter Rich Rovito … and in doing so confirmed my fears when Bucyrus first announced the acquisition of the Oak Creek property in May. I laid out my concerns in this post.
Simply, the Business Journal story clearly states that South Milwaukee will no longer be able to say that we’re home the world’s largest mining equipment manufacturer. Oak Creek can now make that boast, thanks in part to the help of some tax credits.
That news was bad enough. Then came word from the Wall Street Journal that Bucyrus may lose a major order for mining machinery because olf decision by the U.S. Export-Import Bank against providing loan guarantees for the project.
More from the story:
The decision is equivalent to “throwing 1,000 jobs in the ditch,” Tim Sullivan, chief executive of the South Milwaukee, Wis., maker of mining equipment, said in an interview Friday. Bucyrus has estimated that the order would create or protect 984 jobs in 13 U.S. states.
That potentially includes hundreds in South Milwaukee, tempering any enthusiasm for the planned addition of new jobs for the city arising out of the Terex Corporation acquisition.
Of course, the story is national now, and the bank may reportedly reconsider its decision. Let’s hope so.
I link these two stories because the Export-Import Bank case proves an important point: Manufacturing jobs can come and go … in this case, perhaps thanks to the vote of two people on a three-person loan committee.
So while South Milwaukee should celebrate the potential addition of jobs to our local plant, there is only one true “home” for Bucyrus, and that is now Oak Creek.
We (maybe) gain some jobs, but lose the headquarters. That’s disappointing news … and a net loss for South Milwaukee.