When the Carlisle Companies conglomerate announced in August that it would shutter its assembly plant for airplane wiring in Kent by the end of next year and lay off almost 600 people, it blamed the pandemic-driven aerospace downturn.
But documents obtained by The Seattle Times show the real reason for the planned shutdown is to move most of the work to China and Mexico to boost the operation’s profitability.
The estimated cost of shutting the plant and moving the work has risen steeply in the months since management made the decision, and at least one customer is walking away because of the changes.
Yet though production workers in Kent offered to take pay cuts to keep their jobs, the shutdown is moving ahead.
A senior employee familiar with the internal discussions said Carlisle’s top executives in Arizona and Florida see the factory closure as necessary to impress Wall Street and boost the stock price — and thus their bonuses.
“We live and die for shareholder reaction,” said the senior employee, who asked not to be named so as to stay employed until the facility closes. “It will maximize compensation for a few at the top. The people who get hurt are the ones with house payments, with no second home.”
Acquiring facilities outside the U.S.
Carlisle, a sprawling multinational company headquartered in Scottsdale, Ariz., that’s grown by a long series of acquisitions,