SC Johnson layoffs to affect 400 Racine County employees

CREATED Feb 11, 2014 - UPDATED: Feb 11, 2014

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RACINE - The city of Racine has the worst unemployment rate in the state at nearly 11 percent, and layoffs  at the county’s biggest employer will be felt across the area.

A staple in Racine, Kewpee’s is as well known as SC Johnson.

Toni Johnston worked at Kewpee’s for 20 years 11:44 “We get a mix of blue collar workers, white collar workers,” said waitress Toni Johnston, who’s worked at Kewpee’s for 20 years.

Part of that mix, 300-400 SC Johnson employees who will soon be out of work.

“It did cross my mind thinking  that they are part of my tip pool, so if there’s 10-15 people not coming in every day, that’s a big chunk of my take home money,” Johnston admits.

Customers argue it will impact dozens of other businesses.

 “It’s going to have a major impact on the city.  It’s just very sad,” said Nancy Gaskin of Racine.

The county is stepping in where it can with resume and interview workshops.

“We have many services as a matter of fact, we provided SCJ with workforce development packets that go over our various services,” said Racine County Executive, Jim Ladwig.

Back at Kewpee’s they are bracing for the ripple effect.

“It’s going to hurt the tax base, the schools are already hurting.  It’s very concerning,” Gaskin said.

SC Johnson sent a statement explaining they are giving above market severance packages and job search support, but admit these decisions are never easy, but necessary.