The parent of Burger Boat Company told a Wisconsin state agency that it could possibly lay off as many as 70 workers, or about a third of its staff, in the next 60 days. But Burger president Jim Ruffolo told SB‘s sister title, IBI, that the layoffs might not come to pass.
“Due to a downturn in the yacht building industry, shipbuilders of Wisconsin may find it necessary to temporarily lay off employees over the next several months,” said Jim Ruffolo in a statement. “The company is following state law issuing the WARN Act notice to be in compliance should a worst case scenario play out.”
Ruffolo told IBI that the notice to the state could be a “moot point” if an order for a new yacht is signed soon. “Burger is strong and we’re in a good position in the marketplace, but if we can’t sign that next order in time we may have to lay some people off,” he said. “But again, we see this as a temporary situation if at all. We have a lot of irons in the fire, and if one comes through, this might not even come to pass.”
Ruffolo says that affected staff would be put through additional skills training before they are rehired. “Transition programs will lessen the impact on affected employees and their families, with the added benefit that its employees would be called back with enhanced skills,” he said in the statement.
Ruffolo said Burger has invested heavily in equipment, facilities and LEAN training initiatives. “We have really got our house in order,” says Ruffolo. “We just anticipate this as a brief downturn.”
Earlier this week, Burger launched its latest build, the 43m (141ft) Sea Owl.