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Hundreds Face Layoffs at Lands' End

By: Dana Brueck
By: Dana Brueck

Two communities face hundreds of layoffs by one of South Central Wisconsin's major employers.

The announcement by clothing maker Lands' End affects executives at its Dodgeville complex as well as customer service representatives at its Cross Plains call center.

Ron Dentinger from the Dodgeville Area Chamber of Commerce says, "I can remember when they said we'll soon have more than 300 employees here."

Lands' End now employs more than six thousand people in Wisconsin.

The company's sprawling Dodgeville complex is a big part of this small town.

Mayor Jim McCaulley says, "they provide a third of our tax base for the city."

But the city is set to lose 175 jobs as part of restructuring at the company.

McCaulley says he was assured the layoffs come as part of an internal adjustment and have nothing to do with the community or its workforce.

Still, losing any number of the workforce is a loss for Dodgeville.

McCaulley says, "it'll mean 200 people fewer coming to the community to work every day."

A spokesperson for Lands' End declined to go on camera, but Dodgeville's mayor says the company told him no more layoffs are expected.

"No further news is good news for us," McCaulley says.

But the news failed to stop in Dodgeville. The layoffs stretch northeast to the company's call center in Cross Plains.

Sen. Jon Erpenbach says he's scheduled to work a shift there Wednesday night.

He works part time as a customer service representative for Lands' End. Erpenbach is among 200 more people also without jobs when the call center closes in June. Erpenbach says Cross Plains will likely feel the impact of less traffic and sales from people working at the call center.

Lands' End sells merchandise through catalogs, stores and online but says its contact with customers over the phone has decreased.

A company spokesperson says Lands' End will offer laid-off employees outplacement and educational assistance.

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