Kraft Heinz Co. on Nov. 4 said it will close seven plants and eliminate 2,600 jobs in the U.S. and Canada in its latest round of post-merger cost-cutting. It also will close its century-old Oscar Mayer headquarters in Madison, Wis., and move about 250 corporate jobs there to Chicago, which is becoming the company's co-headquarters along with Pittsburgh.
The 2,600 jobs represent approximately 14 percent of its North American workforce and will occur over the next two years, all part of a plan to save $1.5 billion in operating costs by the end of 2017.
The plants slated for closure are in Fullerton and San Leandro, Calif.; Federalsburg, Md.; St. Marys, Ontario; Campbell, N.Y.; Lehigh Valley, Pa.; as well as Madison. Those plants make such products as salad dressing, coffee and lunch meats.
Madison, Wis., will be among the hardest hit. The Oscar Mayer company, long ago acquired by Kraft, started there and its factory still employs 700 workers. That plant will close and the office jobs will move to Chicago, just as Kraft's former corporate headquarters in suburban Northfield, Ill., will.
The meat production in Madison as well as from a plant in Davenport, Iowa, will be moved to a planned $203 million plant that will be built elsewhere in Davenport. The local paper quoted city and state officials saying the new plant is expected to retain at least 475 jobs, compared to more than 1,200 jobs at the existing plant.