Updated: Friday, 06 Nov 2009, 5:43 PM CST
Published : Friday, 06 Nov 2009, 10:56 AM CST
FOND DU LAC - It could be the biggest incentive package ever given out in Wisconsin. On Friday, Governor Jim Doyle announced Mercury Marine would receive as much as $70 million from the state if certain criteria are met. That includes $55 million in tax credits and $15 million in low interest loans.
Mercury Marine is also receiving a $50 million loan from the county and another $3 million from the city of Fond du Lac.
Doyle says the state's offer is contingent on Mercury Marine employing about 2,700 workers.
"The money comes to them based on them being able to demonstrate that they have been able to maintain their workforce at levels they agreed to," said Doyle.
On Friday, Doyle was in Fond du Lac at the company's headquarters to thank union workers, community members and the company for coming together. He said the union members who voted to accept the contract changes did the right thing for themselves and the city.
"As hard as this is, we can now go in the right direction," said Doyle.
Mark Schwabero, the company's president, said Mercury Marine
needed to consolidate its operations in order to survive.
"It's a good decision to be here because not only is it the roots, the heritage, our headquarters, great community, state support, but we're also now in a position to be able to truly compete," said Schwabero.
But some say too much was given up -- by the union workers who took pay and benefit cuts, and state taxpayers who are now paying for the massive incentive packages.
Union leadership declined a request by FOX 11 for an on-camera
interview but did say some union members who voted yes to the
contract changes are having second thoughts, seeing now just how
much they gave up.
As part of the deal, Mercury Marine also offered union workers a one time cash buy-out, up to $25,000 depending on how long they had been with the company.
Of the 800-or-so union workers, union leaders said about 200
took the buy-out. An additional 250 laid off workers did as well.
Union leaders say that's because they do not want to work under the
"I told everybody that I knew that worked there to vote no and to continuously vote no because once you lose it, you never get it back," said Bob Schelter, a former laid-off union member who took the buy-out.
And while some say it was too much -- many are happy Mercury Marine is staying put.