The chief executive officer of OpenGate Capital, the company that owns Golden Guernsey, blames the Waukesha dairy’s financial problems on the company’s suppliers and union contracts, according to Patch’s media partners at FOX6 News.
“There was multiple times that earlier, five months ago, they came to us and the union actually went to them with a huge cost savings, and they just never even contacted us about it,” CEO Andrew Nikou told FOX 6.
Union members told the TV station they were never asked to take wage reductions. Employees were shocked when they were told they no longer had a job. With 112 employees losing jobs, many are questioning why OpenGate Capital did not give the state-mandated 60-day notice for a plant closure.
Golden Guernsey declared bankruptcy on Tuesday. Nikou said in a new release that Golden Guernsey sales increased by 20 percent, but expenses were exceeding the revenues.
Employees were left without answers when the plant shut down. One employee, Robert Storm, has filed a complaint with the Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development because the employees did not receive 60 days notice before they lost their jobs.
“Please look into OpenGate Capital,” Storm wrote in his complaint. “They are an investment firm with other assets and because they had no idea how to get milk from the teat to the table is the DOJ’s fault for not wanting someone with dairy business purchasing the plant when they and (former U.S. Sen. Russ) Feingold got the wheels in motion.”
The company started in 1930 as a farmer-owned cooperative in Milwaukee, and by 1935, Golden Guernsey delivered milk to the homes of 20,000 customers in Wisconsin, according to its website. By 1955, construction began at its current facility at 2101 Delafield St.
Dean Foods was ordered to sell the plant by the U.S. and Wisconsin Departments of Justice in order to settle an antitrust lawsuit because Dean Foods owned about 60 percent of milk processing plants in the state. an investment firm that planned to continue operations of the dairy processing facility.