MADISON, Wis. (AP) — The last cold cuts are rolling off the line at the Oscar Mayer factory in Madison, ending nearly 100 years of production at there.
The factory was scheduled to close Thursday, the Wisconsin State Journal (http://bit.ly/2sUQqEd ) reported. The 72-acre plant was one of seven sites selected to be closed when Oscar Mayer’s newly merged parent company, Kraft Heinz, announced a restructuring in November 2015.
“It’s a sad day for Oscar Mayer. It’s family and friends,” said Mike Carlin, an employee.
The Madison plant has been the company’s headquarters since 1957. New products also were developed there.
The plant employed as many as 4,000 people at its peak in the 1970s. It had about 1,300 employees in 2013.
Debbie McDougal celebrated 29 years with the company on Tuesday.
“I was going to school when I (started) here. You buy a car, get a paycheck — the next thing you know, you’re a lifer,” she said.
About 30 employees will remain at the plant until the end of July, cleaning it up and dismantling equipment, said Doug Leikness, president of the United Food and Commercial Workers Union, which is representing the plant workers.
A small number of Madison employees will go to the company’s location in Davenport, Iowa, where a new plant is being built.
Carlin has decided not to move.
“I have a house here, I have a life here,” he said. “It’s another day. I’ve just gotta go on and find something else.”
The City Council has set up the Oscar Mayer Strategic Assessment Committee and charged it with working with a consultant to devise a plan for redeveloping the site.
Reich Brothers Holdings, a company with nationwide experience disposing of the assets of closed factories, is considering the property but no decision has been made yet, said Reich Brothers co-CEO Adam Reich.
A possible buyer is also considering the plant .
“For now, the process remains ongoing and nothing is final,” said Michael Mullen, Kraft Heinz spokesman .