More than 200 employees will be affected by the closing of Del Monte Foods vegetable operations facility in Turkey, company officials said Tuesday, confirming what The Independent had learned Monday night — that the NC 24 facility near Turkey was planning to close its doors and had laid off most of its employees, with all of them expected to be without jobs in the not-to-distant future.
A press release was issued Tuesday morning, announcing the closing of the facility that was purchased by Del Monte Foods in 2015 from Sager Creek Vegetable Company. According to that release, the production will be transferred to other U.S. facilities in the Del Monte network.
Plant production will cease immediately, however, the warehouse activities will continue for an interim period. Officials say that once these activities are complete, the facility will close.
“There is a transition period as the plant production is prepared for closure, however, there will be warehouse activities continuing over the next couple of months,” Erica Teller of Coyne PR, the firm handling the announcement for Del Monte, said.
This closing will ultimately impact 230 full-time employees and 92 seasonal workers. The company is working with employees and local officials concerning future employment.
“For those employees released from work immediately, they will receive 60 days of paid leave and benefits,” Teller said. “For the employees continuing to work in the warehousing operation, they will be offered work targeted to end on or around Sept. 1, 2016. The company is planning to provide an additional monetary payout to employees who complete the entire necessary work period.”
According to Teller, the company partnered with WorkSource to offer outplacement services to all employees affected by this closure. Employees can apply for positions in other locations and will be considered along with other candidates.
This decision, officials note, will allow Del Monte to consolidate and streamline operations to meet customer driven quality demands.
“We thank the employees of these facilities for their efforts, and the communities of Sampson and Duplin counties for its support,” David McLain, president of Sager Creek Foods, Inc. and senior vice president of operations for Del Monte Foods, Inc., said.
The facility in Turkey has been producing sweet potatoes, greens, dry beans, spinach, white potatoes, squash, refried beans and green beans for Allens/Sager Creek since 1991.
Reach Kristy D. Carter at 910-592-8137, ext. 2588. Follow us on Twitter at @SampsonInd. Like us on Facebook.