© Alex Wong/Sipa USA/TNSPresident Donald Trump, left, speaks during a meeting with congressional members on trade issues in the Cabinet Room of the White House in Washington, D.C., on February 13, 2018.
A manufacturer of storage safes is closing its two Chicago-area factories and moving operations to Mexico, in part because of the Trump administration's tariffs on metal from China.
Stack-On Products plans to lay off 128 people at its facility in Wauconda, Ill., and 25 people at its McHenry, Ill., plant when it closes both facilities Oct. 12, said Al Fletcher, human resources director for Alpha Guardian, the Las Vegas-based parent company.
"The operation is really not profitable," Fletcher said. He said the decision to relocate operations to Juarez, Mexico, was made about two months ago when President Donald Trump announced tariffs on numerous goods and materials from China as well as other countries, to reduce what the president has called an unfair trade deficit.
"Mr. Trump is part of this," Fletcher said. So far, the United States has imposed tariffs on $34 billion of Chinese technology goods and $3 billion of Chinese steel and aluminum, and has proposed another $16 billion.
Stack-On, which has operated in the Chicago area for 40 years, makes storage products ranging from tool boxes to gun vaults that are sold at Menards, Walmart and other mass retailers.
The company already has a plant in China and another in Mexico, and its only U.S. factories were the two in the Chicago area, Fletcher said. The layoffs affect manufacturing jobs, warehouse jobs and some office staff, and those employees will be given the option to relocate to El Paso, Texas, just over the border from the Juarez plant, he said. Engineering and sales and marketing employees will be retained and relocated within the Chicago area.
The 153 layoffs at Stack-On are among 885 coming job cuts that Illinois employers reported last month to the state's Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity. The Illinois Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act requires employers with at least 75 workers to notify the state 60 days in advance of a plant closing or mass layoff that affects at least a third of the workforce.
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