John Deere announces layoffs in Wisconsin

The John Deere plant in Horicon, Wis., plans to lay off 240 workers for five months beginning in July, marking the first time the company is implementing a voluntary manufacturing leave, said Chuck Evans, human resources manager.

The layoffs are scheduled to begin July 29.

During the layoffs, employees will receive about 65 percent of their normal pay, which is the rate for employees on medical disability. That compensation will come instead of claiming unemployment.

"This would allow the more junior employees who cannot afford to take a layoff to remain employed through out the summer while the older employees who are nearing retirement can enjoy taking the summer and hunting season off," Evans said.

The company plans to call employees back to work in December, in time for the spring promotional season, Evans said.

Last year, 315 employees were laid off because of a seasonal slowdown and the sluggish economy, and 46 of those employees have not yet been called back, Evans, said.

The Horicon plant makes riding lawn equipment for John Deere's own product line.

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