Cargill to Lay Off 80 Workers as Cocoa Ops Shift from Milwaukee Plant

Cargill to Lay Off 80 Workers as Cocoa Ops Shift from Milwaukee Plant

Cargill is set to lay off 80 workers at its cocoa and chocolate-processing plant in Milwaukee, Wis. as part of a consolidation effort, reports local news outlet BizTimes.

The U.S. agricultural giant has made the redundancies, having decided to move some of its cocoa operations out of state, writes the website, which covers Milwaukee and Southeastern Wisconsin.

According to a Cargill spokesperson cited by BizTimes, the group is shifting its cocoa liquor grinding, dry grind and retail operations to facilities in Pennsylvania and Ontario, Canada, with other activities to be assigned to “a third-party manufacturer in the Midwest.”

“This enables the Milwaukee facility to specialize in chocolate making and molding of products, such as chocolate chips and blocks, to meet the growing customer demand,” said the same spokesperson in a statement.

The layoffs, which are due to come into force on June 5, will include 12 salaried staff members and 68 hourly workers, writes the website, referring to a WARN notice filed by Cargill with the state of Wisconsin.

The employees with hourly contracts are represented by the local Teamsters union, who are reported to be preparing to begin discussions with Cargill over severance packages for its members.

“We regret the impact this has on these employees and their families. Cargill is working with impacted employees through this transition, including encouraging them to apply for open positions within Cargill,” said the spokesperson.

Minnesota-based Cargill is one of the largest cocoa and chocolate producers in the world. In 2014, it acquired rival Archer Daniel Midland’s chocolate business for $440 million The deal, which included the Milwaukee plant, boosted the number of Cargill’s chocolate facilities by around a third.

By Ross Davies

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