Pillsbury plant in New Albany may close soon
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- General Mills has notified its employees of plans to close its Pillsbury plant in New Albany. Officials said after 55 years in Southern Indiana, they've decided to cease operations.
Plant employees were told about the plans at a meeting Thursday morning. General Mills officials told workers that there are other plants across the country that already make the same products. Since most of those products are loaded with carbohydrates and trans fat, they are becoming less popular with the public.
According to a news release from General Mills Global Communications, the decision is subject to negotiation with union officials. If the decision becomes final, the company expects the plant to close mid-calendar year 2016.
Roger Miller, president of the Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers International Union said their contract requires the company to meet with union leaders before anything is official, but Miller doesn't see anything about the situation that could be negotiable.
"All the plants [nationwide] are running at less capacity than they can, so all the plants can absorb more volume and more products," said Miller. "If it's truly about over capacity and it's the decision whether to build or move the product where you have space, I doubt there's a way to compete if you have to build."
General Mills said a closure would impact around 400 employees. Union leaders indicated that employees at the adjoining Senoco plant would also likely lose their jobs, as that plant makes the packaging for the Pillsbury products. A representative with Senoco said they don't have enough information to know how they will proceed going forward.
"We haven't gotten to that point yet," said Brian Risinger, manager of corporate communications at Senoco, about talking to employees. "We just don't have a lot of knowledge besides what the press release says."
The plant is closed Thursday and Friday, as General Mills has given employees time to process the news. Employees will be back to work on Monday.
The plant's union plans to meet Friday at 9 a.m.
The New Albany plant manufactures refrigerated baked goods and packaging, and has been operated by General Mills since 1959. Most of its current employees make around $20 per hour. About 400 people will lose their jobs when the plant closes.
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