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A New Jersey Nabisco Plant to Close After 63 Years

On Friday July 16th, the Nabisco plant located in Fair Lawn, New Jersey officially shut down. It wasn’t a sudden decision- the plan had been in place for months for this to happen- but it’s still surreal in a way to see something thriving for 63 years suddenly cease to be. The approximately 600 people who worked there have had to find new occupations, something that can’t be easy in the midst of bouncing back from a global pandemic. Suffice to say, despite the sugary goods prepared at the plant, this farewell is far more bitter than sweet.

Nabisco is responsible for a number of well known food stuffs. Oreos are probably the first that come to mind for most people but they also create Fig Newtons, Ritz Crackers, Triscuits, Wheat Thins, Nilla Wafers, and Chips Ahoy! cookies. Unfortunately, not only did the New Jersey plant shutter its doors, but a plant in Atlanta as well. Richmond, Virginia will still host a Nabisco factory, but this is little consolation to some of the unionized workers who will have to find work elsewhere.

According to a report from the New York Daily News, the parent company for Nabisco, Mondelez International stated as a reason for the closure, “Both Fair Lawn and Atlanta are no longer strategic assets from a geographic footprint perspective and both face significant operational challenges…” They also cited “aging infrastructure” and “outdated production capabilities,” basically alleging that it would cost more to update the facilities than they felt the factory was worth.

There’s reason to believe that Mondelez International may be trying to shut down the factories in order to move production to a cheaper location. North Jersey.com reports that House Representative for New Jersey’s 9th District, Bill Pascrell Jr. was not happy with the decision from Mondelez and issued criticism towards them after writing to the company back in February of 2021. Pascrell stated:

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“Any company investing in Mexico while shuttering facilities domestically must understand that axing American jobs to pay lower wages in Mexico hurts everyone,”

Rep Bill Pascrell Jr. – Quote From North Jersey.com

The site also states that unionized workers at the plant were earning up to $28.00 per hour for some of the more seasoned employees while others could be making more than that, depending on their specialty. If Pascrell is right, and the company is investing in factories outside of the US, then labor costs like that and the expense of updating factories would seem like strong motivation for Mondelez International to do so.

Our hearts go out to the people who find themselves without a job due to these closures. To have a job pulled out from under you after decades of company loyalty is beyond challenging. Here’s hoping all of those affected find a way to bounce back from this. And as for Nabisco itself, well, it’s hard to say how sweet those Oreos are figuratively going to taste after this news.

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