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.