Jeramey Jannene
Eyes on Milwaukee

Strauss Plant Sent Back to Committee

Opponents of meat processing plant will have chance to object at second public hearing.

By - Oct 15th, 2019 11:21 am
Opponents of a Strauss Brands meat processing facility. Photo by Jeramey Jannene.

Opponents of a Strauss Brands meat processing facility. Photo by Jeramey Jannene.

The Common Council hit pause Tuesday morning on a $60 million proposal by Strauss Brands to build a 210,000-square-foot meat processing facility in Century City.

The council unanimously agreed to send the proposal back to the Zoning, Neighborhoods & Development Committee following over 100 emails sent to each council member in opposition to the proposed facility.

“I get the need for job creation. I get the need for development,” said Alderman Robert Bauman who made the motion. “Yes, it was all noticed according to law.”

“This may be the cleanest slaughterhouse that will ever exist in the United States,” said Bauman. But the alderman said he would like to allow more time for testimony from the community, with proposals like slaughterhouses, oil refineries and chemical plants drawing substantial opposition. He said he was surprised by the lack of public testimony at either of the two public hearings on the project. “For whatever reason, those type of negative uses just seem to end up in poor neighborhoods,” said the alderman.

Area Alderman Khalif Rainey, a vegetarian, said he still backs the project, but won’t object with the move to send it back to committee.

“As I look at the gallery, I don’t know any of these people,” said Rainey of the dozens of project opponents holding signs. “None of these people are my neighbors.” The protestors interrupted Rainey at multiple points, with council president Ashanti Hamilton slamming his gavel and threatening to clear the gallery.

“As I look into the gallery, words stick out such as slaughter, trauma,” said Rainey. But after the alderman ticked off a list of tragic shootings and other violent events in his district, he admonished the protesters for not caring about those incidents. “My inbox is not filled with emails from none of you all.”

“When you talk about trauma, when you talk about slaughter, these things exist in my community,” said Rainey. “Come down here and make your voice heard on those issues.”

“What we are talking about is job creation,” said Rainey. “At the end of the day this is $14 to $17 an hour. This is 500 jobs in an area that was once known for employing black people in our city. That’s a good, family-paying job.”

“It’s crazy,” Rainey concluded, that all roads lead back to one question – “do black lives matter?”

Rainey said members of the Century City Triangle Neighborhood Association have been involved in the effort and have toured Strauss’s Franklin plant.

The next zoning committee meeting is scheduled for October 29th.

About the Proposal

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 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.

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 of the odor.

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

Plant Designs

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2 thoughts on “Eyes on Milwaukee: Strauss Plant Sent Back to Committee”

  1. Edward Susterich says:

    Now that the Strauss proposal has been sent back to the zoning committee, Council members can now concentrate on elimination of (human) slaughter in our community. Long overdue– let’s hear what the plan is.

    (Sound of crickets….)

  2. Edward Susterich says:

    If slaughterhouses had glass walls, everyone would be a vegetarian.
    Paul McCartney

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