BERLIN - We're beginning to see the ripple effects of decreasing demand for military production in the area.
A company that provides parts to Oshkosh Defense is being forced to shut down a facility.
The shutdown will affect workers in the Berlin area.
It's the domino effect begun by the layoff announcement this month from Oshkosh Defense.
Oshkosh officials said they would lay off 900 workers this year.
Demand for military trucks has been decreasing as the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan wind down. Nearly $2.5 billion in military contracts end in the next year.
On Wednesday, it was revealed that creates problems for workers at Oshkosh, and Phoenix Coaters in Berlin.
Forklift operators continue to work the shipping docks at Phoenix Coaters in Berlin. Trucker Ray Kling drives shipments to Oshkosh every day. He remembers the busy times.
"We used to do 12, 13, 14 loads out of here a day. Today it's a busy day, we got 4, maybe 5," said Ray Kling, Wiedmeyer Express truck driver.
Phoenix Coaters is a subsidiary of Mayville Engineering. Company president Robert Kamphuis says for the past nine years, the company made painted parts exclusively for Oshkosh Corporation. He says demand for defense products has dried up and by June 1st, 63 workers will be out of a job at the Berlin facility.
Kamphuis says the news isn't unexpected.
In a statement, Kamphuis said, "Our diverse customer base allows our overall business to grow, even when a given market segment sees declines as we see in the military vehicle market."
Kamphuis says workers will be offered opportunities at two company plants in Beaver Dam.
Kling says some workers are upset.
"A lot of people here are going to have to transfer down, or just take the layoff," said Kling.
The company president says the Berlin factory will go into storage. Workers there are on borrowed time. Those who depend on the business say they might be too.
"I'm not sure, they haven't told me anything, so I don't know what's going on," said Kling.
A spokesperson for Oshkosh Corporation says the company has notified its suppliers about the decline in orders. Those at Phoenix Coaters are hoping possible future military contracts will put the Berlin facility back in business.
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