JULY 21, 2021 – 4:12 PM
The closure of a strong-performing economic pillar of the Quinte West community came as a shock for several of its workers.
That’s according to James Roddy, the spokesperson of the Labourers International Union of North America Local 3000, following the shutdown of the Nestle Food Service Facility last week.
The facility is planned to be completely shut down by the middle of next year and production will be outsourced to the United States, where it ships 80-per cent of the goods produced in Trenton.
In a release on its website after the announcement, the Burlington-based union stated the company has amassed “significant profits” while operating in Trenton and its members have achieved excellent production records while maintaining “consistent adherence” to the highest safety standards.
“This is a well performing profitable factory, with long-serving, dedicated employees,” Roddy noted in an interview Wednesday. “So, this news was definitely unexpected.”
170 unionized employees will be out of work, some of whom have worked at the plant for 25 years, which hurts not only them, but their families as well, Roddy said.
He explained the union’s representatives will attempt to convince Nestle to reconsider their decision and keep these local jobs, however, he noted this decision will more than likely be final.
“Our focus now needs to shift to supporting employees, providing retraining, education opportunities, setting up job action centres, and providing access to financial advisors,” emphasized Roddy.
“We’re trying to reach out to all levels of government to see what kind of supports they can provide.”
The union is also committed to negotiating the best possible closure agreement for the employees, Roddy said.
That includes severance, vacations and pensions, all things that may not be covered by the current collective agreement between the company and the workers.
Roddy added the union has been in contact with workers, many of whom were puzzled at the timing of the announcement, as the employees were about to go on their regular two-week plant shutdown summer holiday.
“It’s much deserved time off to spend with their families, and now it’s is going to be a time where they’re going to be stressed and worried about their future instead of enjoying that well deserved time off.”
Roddy says representatives of LiUNA 3000 have already met with MP Neil Ellis to discuss the offering of support and they plan to meet with MPP Todd Smith and Nestle reps for further talks on Thursday.
The Nestle plant has been operating in Trenton since 1973 and was expanded 10 years ago.
Editor’s Note: Tell Nestlé what you think of this decision – https://twitter.com/nestle