Unilateral Decision by Post Consumer Brands Will Eliminate 160 Family-Supporting Jobs
Contact: Heather Hillenbrand
The 160 workers who maintain the facility and manufacture cereal at the Lancaster cereal plant, which Post Consumer Brands recently announced its intention to close, are fighting to keep their jobs. They are currently seeking support from government officials and exploring any and all options to keep the facility open. US Senator Sherrod Brown and Lancaster Mayor David Scheffler have pledged to work with the union to keep these jobs in Ohio. The workers are members of United Electrical, Radio & Machine Workers (UE) Locals 718 and 777.
The decision came as a shock, as Post Consumer Brands has experienced a 20%, or $64 million, increase in net profit when compared to the previous year and an overall profit margin of 12%.
“When Post bought the plant, we had high hopes that they would not buy a plant just to shut us down,” Local 777 Vice President Craig Davisson said, “But we haven’t gotten corporate support for anyone at the facility ever since. They failed us and our families. Two and a half years later, we’re losing the paychecks that support our kids and grandkids and will be competing amongst ourselves for the few remaining local jobs. The closure will have a dramatic impact on this community.”
The Lancaster cereal plant opened in 1968 and thrived for decades under Ralston foods. UE members have experienced upheaval due to corporate greed for over a decade, during which they have had to negotiate with a series of owners interested in turning a short-term profit at the expense of workers and the local community. Local 777 Chief Steward Mike Hyme said, “After suffering through ConAgra and Treehouse, who knew nothing about cereal, we thought Post would get us back on the right track but all they did was fail us.”
The plant performance has increased in the past year and the plant remains profitable. However, Post claims they will make $23-25 million additional profits by closing the plant and sending production to out-of-state facilities. Local 718 President Eric Walkins said “$23 million is nothing to a corporate giant like Post, but these jobs meant everything to us and supported many in the surrounding communities.”
“This has been my whole life,” said Local 718 Vice President Timothy Baker. “These companies always leave Appalachia behind. We did everything they wanted us to do so we could provide for our families, some of us have worked here for decades. But Post doesn’t care.”