Jeramey Jannene
Eyes on Milwaukee

Group Opposes Meatpacking “Slaughterhouse”

Strauss Brands deal still expected to be approved. Could bring 500 jobs to Century City.

By - Oct 14th, 2019 04:43 pm
Strauss Brands facility rendering. Rendering by ESI Design Services.

Strauss Brands facility rendering. Rendering by ESI Design Services.

Vocal opposition to Strauss Brands plans to construct a $60 million, 210,000-square-foot meat “harvesting” facility in Century City has emerged.

Alderman Robert Bauman told Urban Milwaukee his office has received over 60 letters in opposition to the proposed deal. The city would sell 20 acres to the company for $1 and provide up to $4.5 million if 500 jobs are created at the site.

The Common Council is scheduled to vote on the deal on Tuesday, October 15th.

The proposal is the first sizable employer that would relocate its operations to Century City since the city acquired much of the former Tower Automotive campus in 2009. Strauss is currently based in Franklin.

Bauman was the first elected official to characterize the facility as a “slaughterhouse” when the proposal came before the Zoning, Neighborhoods & Development Committee last week.

Strauss officials expect up to 500 animals to be processed at the facility daily. According to Strauss officials, the animals would be offloaded from trucks into an indoor facility. Waste would drop into a basement and never be stored outdoors. A Strauss representative told the board of the Redevelopment Authority of the City of Milwaukee that the facility would remove 95 percent of the odor and scrubbers could be added in the future to remove 100 percent.

“Slaughterhouses create many detrimental consequences and immediate impacts on neighborhoods, particularly disadvantaged ones,” said activist Amy Zignego in a statement from Slaughter Free Milwaukee. “Pollution and stench arise, vulnerable workers are exposed to brutality which can lead to post traumatic stress disorder, violence increases in the surrounding areas and impacts property values.”

None of the email messages forwarded by Bauman identify the opponents as living near the proposed development. Many submitted some version of a form letter circulated by Slaughter Free Milwaukee asking the council and mayor to pause the project.

The company, which will also relocate its headquarters to the facility, pays its shop employees $13.50 to $17 per hour plus benefits.

Two public hearings on the proposed subsidy have been held. No one has testified in opposition at either. A public hearing, as is standard practice, is not scheduled during the full Common Council meeting.

What’s likely to happen? “At this point there is no doubt about this passing. There will be no further hearings.  I will say a little prayer every time I pass the site as an act of contrition for all the killing that will be occurring,” said Bauman in an email to one of the letter writers.

The proposal has the support of area Alderman Khalif Rainey.

Plant Designs

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7 thoughts on “Eyes on Milwaukee: Group Opposes Meatpacking “Slaughterhouse””

  1. Jeffjay60 says:

    This is one of those damned if you do damned if you don’t deals. Bringing jobs to this area has been a goal of the city government for a long time. If the city makes Strauss keep its promises about reducing the odors and other environmental problems, it can be a win.
    The objections of Ms. Zignego and Slaughter Free Milwaukee sound very much a group that opposes meat harvesting and consumption. While I respect their right to their opinion and complaints, I respectfully disagree. I assume they would object to any slaughtering of animals regardless of where it is located.

  2. Dan Hulbert says:

    Having worked in this area of the city for over ten years I know many of the problems existing here. What is needed are family supporting jobs. Decent jobs will hopefully provide the stability for this part of Milwaukee, and eliminate this senseless violence plaguing the neighborhood. I understand there are objections but the positive outweighs the drawbacks of building the Strauss plant

  3. Ryan Cotic says:

    People have every right to object to this plan but seems like fair wages with benefits are exactly what our city needs. This is not glorious work but hey its an honest days pay and could help stabilize this area a little bit.

  4. Mingus says:

    Wasn’t there a facility that slaughtered beef in the Menomonee Valley not too long ago?

  5. Duane says:

    I believe Cargill had a “beef harvesting facility” on Canal St., employed about 600, closed a couple years ago. I think.

  6. Alan Bartelme says:

    Cargill closed their Milwaukee facility back in 2014:

  7. just1paul says:

    Are there enough people willing to work hard?

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