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Sunday, October 01, 2023

Oshkosh Corp. rebuffed by Foxconn to manufacture postal trucks, will proceed with moving work to South Carolina

Oshkosh Defense will move forward with plans to hire employees to manufacture USPS trucks in South Carolina.

According to reports, Oshkosh Defense attempted to reach an arrangement with Foxconn to produce USPS delivery vehicles at a facility in Racine County, but the company turned it down. Instead, the project will be based in South Carolina, with an estimated 1,000 personnel. 

USPS announced that it granted Oshkosh Defense a $482 million contract to produce at least 50,000 delivery trucks. In February, U.S. Senator Ron Johnson told a group of reporters that Oshkosh Corp. had inquired about renting the Foxconn facility but had been turned down.

"They had to find an existing building," Johnson said. "They tried to rent the Foxconn building."

Some U.S. politicians have raised concerns that the move to South Carolina was done to avoid using union labor, and a committee is currently investigating the issue.

Alexandra Hittle, director of communications for Oshkosh Defense, said in an email to WPR on Monday that the business "evaluated multiple sites in multiple states, including Wisconsin" for building the postal service's Next Generation Delivery Vehicles. The statement made no mention of any attempts to lease a Foxconn factory, but did say that the decision to produce the vehicles in Spartanburg, South Carolina was made because of an existing facility that was best equipped to meet the federal contract's specifications.

Foxconn's plans for Wisconsin have been altered multiple times, and the company has been vague about its future in the state. Wisconsin amended its $2.85 billion deal with Foxconn in April 2021 to set more realistic expectations, including the creation of 1,454 jobs by 2024, which is 11% of the initial ambition.

The Racine County Board of Supervisors and the Mount Pleasant Village Board met on Wednesday for the first public report on the Foxconn project since 2019. The village is looking for other businesses to take over the space, according to officials.

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