How Sweet It Isn’t: Russell Stover Feels Ripple Effect from Hershey

Few are likely to give pause before biting into a giant chocolate bar on Valentine’s Day. Instead, most will carelessly toss the foil wrapper and not realize that what they are holding is a piece of history, a previous day’s work for a factory employee, and a job that no longer exists.

Take the workers at perennial boxed-chocolate favorite Russell Stover Candies. The company has announced plans to eliminate the second shift and lay off about 150 workers at a production facility that staffs 480 people in Montrose, Colorado, effective April 1. These workers include maintenance staff, packaging staff, and supervisors. Russell Stover’s three other U.S. manufacturing plants will also see layoffs, according to the company.

Although its biggest competitor, Hershey provides some raw materials to Russell Stover. With Hershey’s plan to move some production to a plant in Monterrey, Mexico, along with inflation and increasing dairy costs, Russell Stover says these cuts – albeit “temporary” according to executives – are necessary to stay afloat.

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Meanwhile, Hershey is gearing up for its move to Mexico and will close six plants in the United States and Canada and lay off more than 3,000 workers. The layoffs were first announced in April 2007. The first and second round of layoffs hit the company’s Oakdale, California, plant in July and September. The final cut will happen on Friday, February 15. The facility, which once made Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups and Hershey’s Kisses, will be vacant by the end of the month. The company’s Connecticut plant will lose 200 workers, while another 1,300 will be let go in Pennsylvania. Hershey’s Canadian plants will lose about 1,400 workers.

Elaine Rigoli has nearly 15 years of experience managing content and community for various B2B and consumer websites. Elaine has written thousands of business and technology articles and has been quoted in The Wall Street Journal and eWeek, among other publications.

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5 Comments on “How Sweet It Isn’t: Russell Stover Feels Ripple Effect from Hershey

  1. I absolutely love Reese’s peanut butter cups, there is nothing better. But after seeing the news about Hershey’s moving out of the country, I will not buy anymore Hershey’s products. Companies need to start realizing that shipping the work out of the country is hurting America.

  2. Companies will realize they are hurting America by sending jobs out of the country when Americans can no longer afford to buy their product. Without revenue their will be no profits and soon no executive bonus.

  3. I agree with Patrick, Corporate America needs to wake up! There are millions of American workers who are ready willing and able to work and no one would stop buying a candybar if you raised the price by $.25 if it meant keeping American workers on the job! Hershey’s, like other companies fails to realize that the backlash from this move will hurt them more then help. I am joining Patrick on this one and will no longer buy any Hershey’s products! If more people boycott them, perhaps, other companies will start to get the message.

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