Leamington, Ont. – November 15, 2013 – Canada’s leading food workers union is standing with the community of Leamington, Ontario today in the aftershock of the H.J. Heinz Company’s announcement that will directly cost the city more than 650 good union jobs, and the province’s agricultural sector thousands more.
In a letter delivered Thursday afternoon to Leamington Heinz employees, who are proud members of UFCW Canada Local 459, the company disclosed its decision to close the long-producing ketchup plant, which has served as an integral part of the city’s economy since 1909.
“As Canada’s leading force for workers and their families, UFCW Canada will be working closely with the Local 459 leadership to offer plant closure and transition services to members as they become affected by this unwelcome news,” says Paul Meinema, president of the UFCW Canada National Council.
As Leamington’s largest employer, and a major processing centre for the products of area farmers, the Heinz closure is also expected to have a major impact on the entire region, impacting thousands of agricultural operations and their employees throughout the region.
The Heinz facility in Leamington was recently purchased by a private equity firm owned by Berkshire Hathaway and 3G Capital, a Brazilian investment firm.
“Today’s announcement is another example of a transnational private equity firm swooping in to a Canadian community and sucking up the hard-earned value of an operation that was built by generations of hard-working Canadians and their families,” adds Meinema. “This latest closure is another strong example of why our federal government desperately needs to review and reform existing foreign investment legislation, and to introduce a new approach that finally puts Canadians and the well-being of their communities first.”