Mercury Marine Says It Could Start Moving Jobs Out of Fond du Lac By The End of 2009

Mercury Marine of Fond du Lac says it could start moving jobs to Oklahoma by the end of the year, after union employees rejected contract concessions yesterday. The workers voted by what it called a wide margin against large pay cuts for new employees and those returning from layoffs. Company president Mark Schwabero said Mercury needed those concessions to avoid moving up to 850 factory jobs to a non-union plant in Stillwater Oklahoma. Now, he says it will take 2-to-3 years to move most-or-all the jobs, as the firm promises to honor the union’s current contract that expires in 2012. Chief negotiator Dan Longsine said the jobs would have moved anyway. Mercury Marine has made outboard motors in Wisconsin for almost three-fourths-of-a-century. Governor Jim Doyle says he’ll fight to keep Mercury Marine in Wisconsin, but the union and management would have to resolve their differences. Schwabero says the union has rejected the company’s last-and-best offer – and no further talks are planned. Oklahoma says it will pay Mercury’s moving expenses.