Dozens of former Wolverine World Wide employees stood in front of the company's headquarters today, demanding a better severance package after being laid off from the tannery in Rockford. Signs were held up for passing motorists and the company's board of directors as they made their way to a shareholders meeting inside.
The tannery in Rockford was originally scheduled to shutdown mid-May, but it abruptly closed last weekend. The 120 people that used to work there are hoping for a better severance package then the one that is currently on the table.
"They figure they can give us a couple thousand dollars and we should be on our way and happy," said Harvey White. "I don't understand that."
The tannery had been open for more than a century, making leather for shoes and boots. The union says the their jobs are now heading overseas. Wolverine World Wide has said that in the last 50 years, nearly 95% of all U.S. Based tanneries have consolidated of moved their operations overseas.
It's closure is also taking a toll on the entire Rockford community. The city manager says the loss of jobs means loss of revenue for the city. City leaders say sewer bills will likely go up an average of $10 a month to make up for the loss.Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times