C&D moves work to Mexico, will lay off 120 in Milwaukee

While its Milwaukee factory will remain open, C&D Technologies has announced plans to move production work to Reynosa, Mexico and lay off about half of its local workforce, according to a report in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

C&D, which is headquartered in Blue Bell, Pa., just outside of Philadelphia, will retain 100 jobs in Milwaukee. The company makes reserve power systems and large batteries for a variety of markets, including electric utility substations and cell towers.

Jeff Graves, chief executive of C&D, told the Journal Sentinel that the company’s capital investment in the plant was going well until the recession hit. The facility, located in Milwaukee’s River West neighborhood, was once hailed as a model for “insourcing” because it had transferred jobs from China to Milwaukee.

Recent labor contracts helped C&D save on employee benefits costs, but after competitors moved production to Mexico during the recession, its local production lines were no longer cost competitive.

The company said it is committed to keeping the remaining jobs in Milwaukee for the time being, but acknowledged the Milwaukee production lines would have to be evaluated at least every two years.