Temporary layoff for 480 at boat company due to COVID-19

The Wellcraft returns from a spin around Lake Cadillac during the Groupe Beneteau company picnic on Saturday, Sept. 14, 2019.

CADILLAC — The company that owns the classic Cadillac boat brand, FourWinns, is laying off workers for two weeks due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Groupe Beneteau announced on Friday the company is laying off about 480 people from its Cadillac operation, while another 20 will perform functions that can be done from home next week.

The safety and security of the company’s workers and the Cadillac community was the most important thing, according to Christophe Lavigne, president of U.S. brands.

The company opted for a two-week layoff to match the school closure and the state of Michigan’s recommendations, Lavigne said.

There also were business considerations.

Dealers are closed, borders are getting harder to cross, and suppliers are closing, too.

“Business is becoming very difficult,‘ Lavigne said. “We have to take a pause for a period of time.‘

Company leaders will continue to evaluate the situation, he said.

Employees will be eligible for unemployment during the layoff and will keep their health benefits for at least 30 days, Lavigne said.

Cadillac News