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SC Johnson announces up to 200 layoffs

RACINE, WI (WTAQ) - Wisconsin's "Family Company" is slimming down. 

S.C. Johnson, the household products' giant based in Racine, says it will cut 100 to 200 jobs on a gradual basis during the next fiscal year that begins July 1st. 

The layoffs will represent 3 to 6 percent of Johnson's 3,500 Racine area employees. Other Johnson plants will also have layoffs, but the firm is not sure how many. 

Spokeswoman Kelly Semrau said some workers were surprised when they heard the news Thursday from CEO Fisk Johnson. 

The company has had five straight years of record sales and profits, and its last fiscal year was its best. However, Semrau said the home products' industry is changing quickly -- and Johnson needs to be in a better position to keep up with familiar household companies like Procter and Gamble and Clorox. 

Semrau said Johnson is trying to set aside cash for strategic acquisitions that can help the company grow. 

S.C. Johnson gets high national ratings each year as a great place to work -- but Semrau says it's not immune from corporate pressures. In her words, "People misinterpret that if you to go SCJ, it's lifetime employment. We've had layoffs. We're a normal business." 

She said employees are getting a long advance notice so they can plan their futures. Semrau said they'd be treated with "dignity, respect, and generosity."