Master Lock Will Cease Operations at Iconic Milwaukee Manufacturing Plant

FILE - This Jan. 25, 2012 file photo, shows locks inside of the Master Lock company in Milwaukee. U.S. companies restocked at a steady pace in February, suggesting businesses are more hopeful about sales. (AP Photo/Jeffrey Phelps, File)

By Sam Cohen

May 25, 2023

On May 25, Master Lock announced its intention to officially shut down Milwaukee’s manufacturing plant, located at 32nd and Center streets, in March 2024. The company was originally founded in the city back in 1921.

A spokesperson for Master Lock said it intends to “fully transition its manufacturing from the Milwaukee plant to its other North American and global manufacturing operations as well as external suppliers.”

The news was met with immediate backlash from Mayor Cavalier Johnson, as well as the United Auto Workers’ regional office, UAW Region 4. Master Lock officials have stated they are committed to helping displaced workers. 

Mayor Johnson’s statement read, in part, “I am enormously disappointed by the impending closure of the Master Lock facility. It is a slap in the face to the hardworking Milwaukee employees. They certainly deserve greater respect and appreciation from their company.” He highlighted the fact that, roughly 10 years ago, former President Barack Obama visited the facility “to celebrate the in-shoring of jobs.” 

UAW Region 4 issued a separate statement echoing many of Mayor Johnson’s sentiments. “We are disgusted, yet again, as another profitable corporation has decided to close the doors of a manufacturing icon in corporate America’s never-ending quest for profit, without any regard for the people amassing their wealth.”

They added, “The company informed workers today that their jobs would be outsourced beginning this fall. … Master Lock’s facility, on 32nd & Center in the industrial heart of Milwaukee, is one of the last manufacturing facilities in this storied blue collar city.”

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  • Sam Cohen

    Sam is the Editorial Product Manager in the Community Department at COURIER Newsroom. Prior to joining the organization, Sam worked as a writer and editor covering topics ranging from literature, health & wellness, and astrology to the British royal family and profiles of notable actors and musicians.



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