Saturday, August 13, 2022


Voting-rights groups sue AZ to block 'Election Security' Bills; U.S House vote expected today on the new Inflation Reduction Act; the Attorney General moves to release details on search of Trump s home.


Local election officials detail how election misinformation is fueling threats; Media outlets ask a court to unseal the search warrant of Donald Trump's home; and the CDC changes its approach to COVID-19.


Infrastructure funding is on its way, ranchers anticipate money from the Inflation Reduction Act, and rural America is becoming more diverse, but you wouldn't know it by looking at the leadership.

WI Plant Closure Seen as Example for Private-Equity Reform


Thursday, August 26, 2021   

JANESVILLE, Wis. -- A Wisconsin city that has seen its share of manufacturing jobs leave is experiencing pain again, prompting workers and financial-reform advocates to speak out about the impact of private equity firms.

Janesville-based Hufcor, which was acquired by OpenGate Capital in 2017, is scheduled to close its plant in the near future. OpenGate is moving the operations to Mexico, where workers will build specialty room dividers that have been made locally for many years.

Kathy Pawluck, one of the nearly 150 workers affected by the move, said she was close to retirement when she found out, but pointed out it will be much harder for other staff who really need the stable pay and benefits.

"When we were Hufcor and owned by Mike Gordon, it was a wonderful family-oriented company to work for," Pawluck recounted. "That all changed when we were bought out by investors."

Those calling attention to the situation acknowledged not all private equity firms are bad, but argued there are too many examples of profits being placed ahead of affected communities. OpenGate did not respond to a request for comment before deadline.

A bill in Congress, co-sponsored by Sen. Tammy Baldwin, D-Wis., would boost regulation of private equity funds.

Carter Dougherty, communications director at Americans for Financial Reform, said there are scenarios where it makes sense for an outside firm to come in and take over, because of its expertise, however, he contended the Hufcor situation is not a good example.

"It's about buying this company, squeezing it for cash, and then moving on to the next deal," Dougherty asserted.

He pointed to another case involving OpenGate, when it closed Golden Guernsey Dairy near Milwaukee, in 2013. As for Janesville, the Hufcor closing comes more than a decade after it saw General Motors shutter its assembly plant there.

Senate Bill 2155 2020

get more stories like this via email
Since the 2020 election, at least 19 states have passed 34 laws restrict­ing access to voting, according to the Brennan Center For Justice. (Orlowiski Designs/Adobe Stock)

Social Issues

Voting-rights advocates are suing the state of Arizona over new regulations they say make it harder for some people to register and would block thousa…

Social Issues

New Hampshire ranks second in the country on measures of child well-being, according to the new 2022 Kids Count Data Book from the Annie E. Casey …

Social Issues

Massachusetts ranks first in the nation for children's well-being, according to the 2022 Kids Count Data Book from the Annie E. Casey Foundation…

While there are continued disparities, an annual report says Minnesota has seen progress in elevating kids out of poverty, with 12% of children falling into that category. (Adobe Stock)

Social Issues

Minnesota once again gets a high ranking among states for child well-being, but an annual report says the state's disparities remain a challenge…

Social Issues

Some measurements of children's well-being show warning signs in Iowa in the area of education. The numbers contrast with Iowa's overall ranking in a …

Pictured in the center is Francine "Fran" Pace, one of 11 graduates of this summer's Youth Leadership Academy for Iowans with disabilities. (Photo courtesy of DD Council).

Health and Wellness

Nearly a dozen Iowa youths with disabilities are taking newly developed leadership skills out into the world. A summer academy wrapped up this month…


A coalition of community organizations teamed up in Oregon to force a chronic polluter out of business, and bring environmental justice to a nearby …

Health and Wellness

During National Health Center Week, health-care advocates are highlighting the work Community Health Centers are doing to improve access to care …


Phone: 303.448.9105 Toll Free: 888.891.9416 Fax: 208.247.1830 Your trusted member- and audience-supported news source since 1996 Copyright © 2021