The Del Monte produce company is closing multiple factories around the country, meaning hundreds of full-time, hourly, and seasonal workers will lose their jobs.
In Sleepy Eye, Minnesota, the closure means that 69 full-time workers will lose their jobs, in addition to hundreds of seasonal workers, according to the Minnesota Star-Tribune. The plant is expected to be fully closed by October 21, though the first round of layoffs are scheduled for early October.
“The closing of Del Monte will have a tremendous impact on the community,” Sleepy Eye Mayor Wayne Pelzel stated. “This will have an impact on the school, on housing, on just a whole ton of things in the community. We are really saddened by this news.”
Along with the Sleepy Eye facility, Del Monte is also closing its plant in Mendota, Illinois. According to the Chicago Tribune, the Mendota closure will lay off 111 full-time and 362 seasonal workers. The produce company is also selling off its manufacturing assets in Cambria, Wisconsin and Crystal City, Texas, meaning 90 full-time hourly, 19 salaried, and 300 seasonal workers will lose their jobs. Last year, Del Monte closed plants in California, Indiana, and North Carolina, according to Food Business News.
While the company itself is headquartered in Singapore, its U.S. subsidiary is based in California. Financial data compiled by MacroTrends shows that U.S.-based Fresh Del Monte Produce paid just $16.1 million in income taxes in 2018, compared to $24.9 million in 2017 — before President Trump’s corporate tax cuts went into effect. This means that the produce company is laying off hundreds of workers despite saving roughly $8.8 million in income taxes thanks to the legislation.
Earlier this week, U.S. Steel, which earned $728 million more in after-tax income thanks to the Trump tax cuts, also announced layoffs of several hundred workers at its Ecorse, Michigan plant. Other major companies that benefited from the Trump tax cuts yet went on to fire workers anyway include Verizon, Union Pacific, and Lowe’s, among others.
The office of Senator Amy Kloubuchar (D-Minnesota) did not immediately return Grit Post‘s request for comment about the closure of the Minnesota plant.
(Featured image: F Delventhal/Creative Commons)
Carl Gibson is a politics contributor for Grit Post. His work has previously been published in The Guardian, The Washington Post, The Houston Chronicle, Al-Jazeera America, and NPR, among others. Follow him on Twitter @crgibs or send him an email at carl at gritpost dot com.