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Norcold to shut down all U.S. refrigerator manufacturing

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A definite chill has set in for more than 350 Norcold refrigerator manufacturing employees. The chill isn’t coming from the cooling units. Instead, these hundreds of employees will soon be laid off as Thetford, Norcold’s parent company, says it’s moving all U.S. refrigerator production “to other global company owned and operated manufacturing facilities.”

60-day notice

The affected employees all presently work in Ohio, with the lion’s share directly involved in manufacturing in Sydney. The balance of 100 employees work in Norcold’s Gettysburg cooling-unit manufacturing plant. All 358 received 60-day “WARN” notices, required when a company plans on layoffs. Thetford’s official statement says, “The decision to close the Norcold locations and utilize the company’s global manufacturing capabilities was difficult, but necessary due to the current economic challenges and ongoing labor constraints.”

The timing couldn’t be much worse, with inflation at record levels, and the end-of-the–year holiday season not making for much merry for affected worker households. Government officials in Gettysburg are up in arms about the move. Local leaders say 90% of the village tax base is wrapped up in Norcold’s plant there.

“I don’t want to say panic”

NorcoldInterviewed by area media outlet News Center 7, the village council president, Cheryl Byers, was blunt. “I don’t want to say panic because we do have good leaders and we will get through it. We always do. But this is just the biggest, biggest blow we’ve had since we lost our school.” That took place in 1972.

Village officials have appealed to their U.S. Senator, Sherrod Brown, asking for a meeting to discuss the situation—and to hopefully get Thetford to change its corporate mind. Brown’s response included, “The choice to put hundreds of Ohioans out of their jobs is not only the wrong one but it’s shortsighted and I hope Norcold reconsiders its decision.”

Norcold has been building refrigerators in Ohio for 50 years.

What effect will Norcold’s out-of-country transfer have on RV refrigerator consumers? That’s not presently clear. Will “importing” refrigerators to the U.S. from overseas suffer the same issues that other RV parts have had in the last couple of years—namely long waits and shortages? It could put a chill on sales of new RVs.

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Erin
11 days ago

Parts have always been hard to source in the RV industry, especially with Norcold. Good thing the Norcold Guy / RV Fridge Guys are still supporting the brand and helping get parts to those of us out there traveling. I believe they’re also hiring… If you lost a job or are about to, I would reach out.

Gene Cheatham
24 days ago

In the 80’s I had a nice career in the electronics industry. At that time manufacturers began moving off shore for less costly, and unfortunately sometimes better, manufacturing. I said to my coworkers “If we loose our manufacturing base, we’re screwed.” My wife worked at the same place and, at the time, said “People want to earn $25 an hour and pay 25 cents an hour for the stuff they buy.” … WalMart mentality. Well, here we are – screwed. One of my few prognostications that came true. Me? In 2000 when the electronics industry here collapsed, thousands of us lost our careers, many never recovered, the rest of us permanent damage to our home financial well being. Remember when WalMart had US flags all over and bragged of “Made in the USA”? They’ve degraded, like most everywhere else, to made in China. We need to get our factories back on shore and quit regulating and taxing them into oblivion. Oh — don’t forget, you get the government you vote for.

Tony Barthel(@tony)
26 days ago

Norcold has lost so much market share thanks to lousy products that have a reputation for causing fires. So the fact that this provider isn’t building products in the US doesn’t mean we don’t have a choice – you can buy a Dometic, GE, Furrion and other RV fridges and likely have a better product made by your neighbors.

I do feel badly for the hundreds of people whose families depend on the paychecks of these workers, though.

Major Lag
26 days ago

Gee, I guess it’s a good thing Semcorp is building in Sidney then. Seems like they could really use those roughly 1,200 jobs in that new $960 million 850,000 sq ft EV battery manufacturing plant. Should replace that 90% tax base or close to it. I guess their politicians were looking to expand after all. Oh yeah, that was awarded in May of this year.

Mark
26 days ago

The RV market, just like the auto market, will have a glut of repo’s to deal with as we move into next year. The credit markets are drying up and new manufacturing will crawl to a slow pace along with a customer base that can afford RV’s as a part of their lifestyle. This is your green new deal at work.

Scott
26 days ago

These companies want more money so they move the plants to other countries where they can get cheaper labor, the company I worked for moved to Mexico in 2002 they were payed 1.30 an hour at that time.

Dr.Movie
26 days ago

This is also of the result of how American s vote without “thinking”. The politicians will STILL have their jobs.Buid Back Better haha for who?? Not the American workers

Jarrod m
26 days ago

Why doesn’t the company CEO and owners give up their paycheck so the 350 workers can support their families I guess that would be too much to ask because you can’t have your 11th vacation home and eat filet mignon every night

Blake Berlin
26 days ago
Reply to  Jarrod m

Wages in the US have gone up tremendously. You can blame the boogeyman if you choose, but when costs go way up there has to be a reaction.

Jarrod m
26 days ago

That company should be extremely ashamed so the big CEO can have another vacation home when he already has 10 so hard working Americans don’t have jobs and having trouble supporting their families shameful shameful shameful

Blake Berlin
26 days ago
Reply to  Jarrod m

He has ten houses already? What’s your source? What should be the limit?

William
26 days ago

Technology, as awesome as it can be, unfortunately is the enabler of our fall. With tv and computers and phones, the politicians hide behind the screens and dictate. Make them rub shoulders with everyone, not just the elites or surrounded by security guards. They waste more money than the average American earns. They allow a company like this to leave and continue sales here at greater profit ratio. Boycott everything this company is involved in. Make politicians accountable again. “Leaders”, smh.

Jeff
26 days ago

Another domestic company is totally outsourced to up the bottom line of corporate raiders. Sad, scratch them off your list.

Matt Crossman
26 days ago

If the government had balls it would tell these companies they can’t import anything into the US for 20 yrs from the date of closing

Justin
26 days ago
Reply to  Matt Crossman

I agree if not indefinite in time frame,
but they would open up under another name. But we need to look at how that local government placing so much on that company and possibly the 358 worker, which speaks volumes and gives greater reason for concern. What are these officials thinking? Can you blame this company? Think for a moment, if you paid 90% of that area’s taxes as a company. Would you be looking to leave? We do this by our politicians and unions and create such a burden that it’s not worth a company to remain even stateside. No wonder they leave. Double edge sword if you ask me. These foreigners are grateful to say the least, meanwhile all the American workers do is complain and demand things. As we the people, we have trusted the Government and placed this upon ourselves. When everyone wakes up to reality it may be too late.

James Whatever
26 days ago
Reply to  Justin

There you go…this is the real problem that needs discussed. Forget the endless CEO debate…why is there so much reliance on one company (90% is insane) to foot the tax bill for that area. Sounds like local govt got lazy when they found a cash cow they could take a decades long nap behind ? Thank you for bringing up what I believe is the biggest issue. My family’s two company’ a water well drilling co and a sand & gravel plant (with truck fleet) are being systematically taxed and squeezed into closure here in California.

Sherry
26 days ago
Reply to  Justin

Agree. Houston was that way in early 80s. Everyone was impacted by the oil bust. The city had to learn the hard way a one industry economy was a disaster waiting to happen.

Kevin
26 days ago
Reply to  Matt Crossman

And that will affect more workers in the USA then the 300 plus being layed off

Jeffery H.
26 days ago

The stockholders (the monied elite, who are both Red and Blue, people who would not let us past the front gate of their clubs), hold the company accountable for maximum profits for maximum dividends. The numbers were crunched and a decision for maximum profitability was made. Simple as that. The Red and Blue working man will be divided one against the other while the lawmakers and their financial backers will be reinvesting their profits. They make the rules and fix the fight to their advantage.

As long as the above mentioned “they” can get us to hate one another, we will forget that workers don’t need employers, it’s the other way around. Solidarity is impossible as long as we are at each other’s throats.

All day denny
26 days ago
Reply to  Jeffery H.

You may have identified the bigger issue facing the country.

Peoples541
26 days ago
Reply to  All day denny

Well said; but most people just don’t get it.

Frances Perkns
26 days ago

I am am sure Vance will yodle his way to Gettysburg to save these jobs, with the Mar a Lago guy, who couldnt find Ohio on a map with a sharpie.

Normal Guy.
26 days ago
Reply to  Frances Perkns

Funny. He’s been there many times.

CLeeNick
21 days ago
Reply to  Frances Perkns

The Mar a Lago guy isn’t President anymore. It’s not his problem. Where’s Joe and Kamala? Columbia?

Richard W.
26 days ago

Well former President Trump had put a stop to US companies moving overseas. So once again Democrat’s prefer Americans to be on welfare. It’s rediculus that the US is exporting business and technology. Start learning how to build bows and arrows at home because we need to prepared for WW3 and we won’t have any US companies to build or do anything.

Kelvin
26 days ago
Reply to  Richard W.

Not actually. The “deal” he made to keep American jobs fell through in a few months.

John s
26 days ago
Reply to  Richard W.

It’s not a US company.

CLeeNick
21 days ago
Reply to  Richard W.

Indeed.

Bob Johnson
26 days ago

If 90% of the Gettysburg tax base is wrapped up in the company that was a pretty foolish thing to let go on for such a period of time they should have expanded their tax base.

Anitabee
27 days ago

It’s the companys fault not the workers or anyone ok at what’s happening, people are getting played of around the holidays Elon Twitter and RV refrigerator. They’ve couldn’t waited until after the holidays.

Peter
27 days ago

Crocodile tears from Cheryl Byers and Sherrod Brown, 2 leftist democrats that joined Joe Biden in putting our economy in a tailspin.
Now they wonder what went wrong.

Normal Guy.
26 days ago
Reply to  Peter

True

CarlJ
27 days ago

It seems many RV manufacturers are headed to the 12v fridge models anyways. They put a solar panel or two on the roof and call it a day. I imagine that if a customer really want the absorption fridge that can be a factory ordered option but my guess is within a few short years, the absorption fridges will be frame in the standard build. Dometic and Norcold have only themselves to blame. This old world technology has been around 100 years and they are still an unreliable overpriced way to keep food cold. The only thing these two companies have been successful in building is a shovel to bury themselves with.

Jeff J
26 days ago
Reply to  CarlJ

My Norcold is 22 years old and still works great. Maybe I’m just lucky.

Steve Nordquist
26 days ago
Reply to  CarlJ

Well it’s not like 25-200 lb. of batteries wouldn’t weigh 25-200 lb., but we’re a ways out from leasing/renting/buying sodium batteries when you get to a place. Then your 2 panels can have staying power. Favorite working fluid? CO2?

CLeeNick
21 days ago
Reply to  CarlJ

We use an original Servel absorption fridge, manufactured in 1947 and jetted for propane, at our backcounty off the grid camp. It’s been out there 16 years and still works great. We use a Norge gas refrigerator out there, a big old double door model build around 1955 that uses the Servel cooling system, as a game freezer for harvested elk and deer. It’s jetted for natural gas, but we run it off of propane (more BTUs so it “overdrives” the cooling system) so the entire cooling box becomes a freezer. The freezer box maintains about 20 below zero, the “fridge” box will then maintain about 15-20 above. There’s been another Servel, manufactured in 1941 and jetted for natural gas, in one of our outbuildings here at the house. It’s used as an “overflow/backup/beer” fridge. It’s been there 16 years as well, as I purchased both Servels at the same time. The only times I’ve ever turned it off is to defrost it. Absorption technology is proven reliable. As for RV’s? Boondocking is our norm. DC fridges aren’t up to the task, and reputable RV dealers admit it. I wouldn’t own an RV without an absorption fridge.

William
27 days ago

Yawn, a faulty Norcold almost burnt my RV to the ground with my family in it. Hope that company goes down like my refrigerator did.

Steve Nordquist
26 days ago
Reply to  William

Compressor or control fault?

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