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SC Johnson Research Tower

The Frank Lloyd Wright-designed Research Tower on the Racine campus of SC Johnson is illuminated over the foreground of the neighborhood on 17th Street to the south on December 21, 2013. / Scott Anderson scott.anderson@journaltimes.com Buy this Photo at jtreprints.com

RACINE — The SC Johnson restructuring announced in October will cut more deeply into the company’s local workforce than previously thought, SCJ Chairman and CEO Fisk Johnson told employees Friday.

SCJ spokeswoman Jam Stewart said Johnson held a town hall-style meeting Friday morning at Fortaleza Hall on the company headquarters campus, 1525 Howe St. During the meeting he said it now appears restructuring will exceed the previously announced 100 to 200 Racine area positions. Johnson said the “guesstimate” is now somewhere around 300 and possibly up to 400 positions, Stewart said.

Johnson did not give details to the group about why the number of positions to be cut has jumped so significantly from the earlier estimate, Stewart said.

The position cuts will include “voluntary and involuntary” position cuts, she said. Some positions to be affected are now open, Stewart added.

In October — also following a town hall-style meeting featuring Johnson — SCJ announced it was about to begin six months of planning to restructure the company worldwide, and wind up that planning in April.

Some specific position cuts will be made known to employees Tuesday, Stewart said Friday. SCJ is not publicly stating how many positions will be cut that day. Employees affected Tuesday will stay on for about three weeks after they’ve been told, Stewart said.

The “vast majority” of the job cuts will be announced by about the end of April, she said Friday. Some of those job cuts will not occur until the next fiscal year which starts July 1.

New job-cut numbers

In October, when SCJ said the coming restructuring was expected to cut an estimated 100 to 200 jobs, that would have been about 3 to 6 percent of SCJ’s Racine area workforce of about 3,500.

Friday was the first time the consumer products company publicly revised those job-cutting estimates. The new numbers would mean SCJ job losses in the Racine area of roughly 8.5 percent to 11.5 percent.

SCJ officials said in October that no production jobs at Waxdale will be lost, although they could not rule out other types of positions there being reduced.

Stewart said Friday that is still true.

Company officials also said last fall that no area was immune, and cuts would likely come from every function.

SCJ spokeswoman Kelly Semrau said those who lose their jobs will be treated with “dignity, respect and generosity.”

She also said then, “The important thing is we’re staying here.”

The purpose

During Friday’s talk, Johnson reiterated that SCJ is a healthy business, Stewart said.

“It’s not about cost cutting,” she said. “This is about organizational redesign and growth for the long term.”

In October Semrau said restructuring is designed to better position SCJ against the other four giants in the consumer products industry: Procter & Gamble, Unilever, Clorox and Reckitt Benckiser.

SCJ had come off of five years of record sales and profits, Semrau said then, and its last fiscal year which ended June 30, 2013, was its best ever for sales and profits.

Despite that, Semrau explained, “We’re restructuring because the industry we operate in moves quickly, evolves quickly.”

But with acquisition opportunities being scant and the main competitors being very large, brands are much more expensive than in the past, Semrau said. So, making SCJ even more profitable means the ability to set aside more cash for future acquisitions.

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Reporter

Michael "Mick" Burke covers business and the Village of Sturtevant. He is the proud father of two daughters and owner of a fantastic, although rug-chewing, German shepherd dog.

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