Saturday, March 10, 2007

Hershey's kiss-off

On February 16th, Hershey announced that they intend to close their chocolate factory in Smiths Falls, Ontario. The factory is about an hour-and-a-half's drive from my home in Ottawa, and as careful planning would have it—I was there today. (The photo of a lamp post that I took, shown to the left, provides some evidence of this.)

Like most members of our species, I have—shall we say—"a thing" for chocolate, and Hershey's make some very delectable chocolate treats. I happily carted home several kilos of the stuff from the Hershey Chocolate Shoppe that is attached to the factory. The Visitor's Center also features a "free self-guided tour from an elevated viewing gallery" to see the treats in production, which is pretty cool.

What isn't so cool is that a total of about 500 people will lose their jobs with the closure of the factory. As I understand it, 100 positions have already been eliminated and eventually about 400 more people will lose their jobs.

Incidentally, the population of Smiths Falls is roughly 10,000. The closure is expected to be devasting to the town. The outrage has only just begun.

This is only part of what Hershey calls a "Global Supply Chain Transformation". One of the cornerstones of this program is to:
Construct a flexible, cost-effective production facility in Monterrey, Mexico to meet current and emerging marketplace needs.
Hmmm ... "cost effective". Umm, does that include all the costs?

Here are a couple of other lines selected not-entirely at random from Hershey's description of how they plan to transform their global supply chain. First:
The program will result in a total net reduction of approximately 1,500 positions across Hershey's supply chain over the next three years.
And the second, a quote from David J. West, Executive Vice President, Chief Operating Officer:
We recently announced a manufacturing joint venture in China with Lotte Confectionery Company, another step in our disciplined global expansion.

Update 29-Mar-2007: "Hope impedes retraining for Smiths Falls Hershey workers".

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Is there a petition we can sign to help Smiths Falls residents? Maybe online?

10:27 AM, March 11, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's too bad the workers at Hershey - Smith Falls can't buy the plant and start a worker's cooperative or something.

In Saskatchewan back in the 1980s, Labatt's closed their brewery in Saskatoon. It was bought by the workers who proceeded to start their own brewery - Great West. Still around today!

It's no wonder these big companies want to move manufacturing to Mexico and China. I heard a Buzz Hargrove sound byte back when Chrysler announced their cuts to the effect that Mexican wages are 40 times less than Canadian wages, and Chinese wages are a whopping 200 times less (!)

Disciplined global expansion my a**. Real discipline is making a profit and growing a company without taking advantage of workers who live in countries without real labour laws. Hershey is just greedy, and should face punitive import taxes and a boycott.

12:16 PM, March 12, 2007  
Blogger cansarnoso said...

"disciplined" as SM for horsewhipped?

6:08 PM, March 29, 2008  

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