With record revenues reported in 2022, workers were surprised when the more than 100-year-old Master Lock announced it would close its last remaining U.S. plant, located in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.
The more than 400 employees, including 330 workers represented by United Auto Workers Local 469 were told that the phased shutdown will begin in October 2023, with final operations halting by March 2024. The jobs will be sent abroad to Mexico and China, where Master Lock has manufacturing plants. 
“This must have been in the works for several years at a minimum because you cannot pick up the operation we have, where we make literally millions of parts a day, and just plop it somewhere else without a lot of work,” former UAW Local 469 President Mike Bink told The Guardian. “We’re in the poorest area of Milwaukee, the vast majority of our people running that equipment are from Milwaukee. There aren’t a lot of jobs that they can go to that will come close to replacing that income and benefit level and we’re dealing with a corporation where that is just not a consideration.”
The unionized workforce and local elected officials have criticized the company. UAW Region 4 director Brandon Campbell said the union is “disgusted, yet again, as another profitable corporation has decided to close the doors of a manufacturing icon in corporate America’s neverending quest for profit, without any regard for the people amassing their wealth.”
Milwaukee Mayor Cavalier Johnson said he is “enormously disappointed by the impending closure of the Master Lock facility. It is a slap in the face to the hard-working Milwaukee employees.” 
Master Lock was founded in 1921. Its employees have been unionized since 1939. In the mid-1980s, the company employed about 1,300 workers in Milwaukee. By the 1990s, the company began outsourcing production to China and Mexico. In 2021, the company cut 61 jobs at the Milwaukee facility.