By Jean-Paul McDoanld, Farms.com
The Ontario community of 6,800 people is set to lose 214 jobs when Kraft Heinz closes their plant, which bottles Kraft brand salad dressing. The plant has provided St. Marys, which is just north of London, with jobs since the 1950s.
This closure comes as part of a larger downsizing plan following the merger of Kraft and Heinz earlier in 2015. A larger Leamington, Ont. plant was closed in June 2014, costing its community 740 jobs. The Leamington plant was sold to Highbury Canco, a co-packing company and one of Kraft Heinz’s suppliers.
Despite the closure of the Leamington plant, the St. Marys community did not expect its own plant would follow suit. “We were led to believe the St. Marys plant was secure,” said Mayor Al Strathdee in an interview with CBC News.
Other 2014 plant closures included those in Florence, SC and Pocatello, ID, with a total of 610 jobs lost. Kraft Heinz also plans to close and relocate a Davenport, IA meat processing plant in order to build a new factory.
Kraft Heinz plans to close seven or eight plants across Canada and the United States over the next two years, cutting more than 2,500 factory and office jobs. When the downsizing was first announced in August, the company assured its 46,600 employees that the planned job cuts would only affect salaried employees and not factory workers. A large portion of the job cuts were to affect the 1,900 employees Kraft had at its Northfield, IL headquarters.
Kraft Heinz has announced that the other factories set to close are located in Federalsburg, MD; Campbell, NY; Fullerton, CA; San Leandro, CA; Madison, WI; and Lehigh Valley, PA.
Heinz was acquired by Warren Buffet’s Berkshire Hathaway and Brazil’s 3G Capital for $28 billion USD in February 2013. Following the merger, the new food giant Kraft Heinz looked to slash costs. The current plan is expected to save $1.5 billion a year by 2017.