By Michael Messina
Friday, July 8 marked a sad day in the history of one of America’s most nostalgic family treats. The last Oreo came off the line at Chicago’s Southwest Side plant last week, and along with the cookies, many of the workers are gone as well.
Oreo’s parent company Mondelez is moving this branch of Oreo production to Mexico, a move they say will save them up to $46 million a year. But with the move, about half of the workers at the factory were laid off; good union jobs, gone. Most of the workers were with the Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers union.
The bakers union has meanwhile mounted a boycott of Mexican-made Oreos and a related social media campaign.
Oreo production in Chicago dates to 1953, making it one of the longest-running facilities churning out the cookies in the Mondelez network of bakeries, said Mondelez spokeswoman Laurie Guzzinati. The cookie was first made in New York City in 1912.
Over the years, the Oreo brand has achieved and sustained enormous popularity worldwide. It sells in more than 100 countries and last year brought in almost $2.9 billion in global sales.
The union has been in ongoing negotiations with the company as well. How does a company that makes almost $3 billion in sales pay its CEO $170 million over the last eight years, but claim that laying off 600 workers is necessary for the wellbeing of the company?
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