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Dairy plant in Waukesha closes; school districts scramble for new milk supplier

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UNDATED (WSAU)   Hundreds of schools in southeast Wisconsin have to find a new milk supplier, after the Golden Guernsey dairy plant in Waukesha suddenly closed during the weekend. Media reports said workers were told Friday night not to show up for work on Saturday.

A state workforce development spokesman said he was not aware of the closing. Wisconsin’s Plant Closing Law requires a 60-day notice for either plant closings or layoffs that involve 50-or-more employees, unless there are emergency circumstances. Golden Guernsey president Brad Parks told WTMJ TV in Milwaukee that the matter was a quote, “ongoing process” – and he would not confirm a report that 112 people at the Waukesha plant lost their jobs.

Open Gate Capital of Los Angeles bought the Waukesha plant early last year from Dean Foods. The purchase was designed to settle anti-trust concerns raised by the federal government, due to Dean’s other dairy operations in Wisconsin.

Lynn Hiemke, the head of Mapleton Dairy Haulers of Oconomowoc, bought milk from the Waukesha plant for 360 Wisconsin schools. WTMJ said Mapleton has arranged for a new supplier for now – and he’s trying to find something more permanent. Cindy Fassbender of the Slinger schools was told yesterday she’d only get one more shipment – and they were expecting to run out of milk on Wednesday.

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