One hundred sixty workers in Hutchinson will be without a job for a month starting April 24.
Employees at KUHN Krause, a farming equipment and manufacturing company, told its employees Thursday afternoon.
“This is one of those things we all hate to do and love to prevent, but it is necessary long-term and frankly better off for us long term,” says President Greg Petras.
Petras explains it was just a simple check of the numbers.
“We do not have enough business to keep everybody busy full-time,” he says.
He says his customers, mainly soy and grain farmers, can’t afford his equipment. He points to a domino affect of low market prices and international tariffs on steel which he believes has led to what he says were retaliatory tariffs on the farmers product.
“That restricted the soy bean demand to China, so therefore, the supply of soy beans has skyrocketed, so our farmers get less for their soy beans,” he says.
Less for farmers, means delays and backorders for his company, so to balance capacity and demand in between farming seasons the furlough on the160 factory workers, he says, is necessary to save in operational costs.
“Instead of laying off people, permanently, we took a large group of people and shut down the operations,” Petras says.
The month-long furlough begins on April 24 and employees will return following Memorial Day weekend. Employees won’t be getting paid wages, but the company says they will still be attached to its insurance and health benefits plan.