Hillshire Announces Shutdown of Florence Plant; 1,100 Jobs Lost

FLORENCE, Ala. (WHNT) – One of Florence’s largest employers has announced it will shut down operations by the end of 2014.

In a news release, The Hillshire Brands Company announced it will discontinue all production at its Florence facility located on South Wood Avenue.  The plant employs 1,100 people.

According to a company spokesperson, the decision was made after a comprehensive business evaluation; Hillshire determined production from the Florence facility will be sourced from other locations within the Hillshire Brands network of operations.

Hillshire leaders said they produce breakfast sandwich and breakfast sausage in the Florence facility.

“Closing our Florence facility was a very difficult decision to make,” said Tom Hayes, chief supply chain officer for The Hillshire Brands Company. “For many years, these employees dedicated themselves to running a quality operation, which they have done exceptionally well. Unfortunately, after looking at our business, we determined that this facility will not allow us to meet our efficiency or long-term profitability expectations.”

A company spokesperson said they will provide severance and outplacement assistance to employees consistent with its policies.

Hillshire said they will also coordinate efforts with state and local training and employment agencies to help facilitate and ease the transition for affected employees.

39 comments

  • Nuclear Mike

    Welcome to the reality of America’s economy far from Washington, DC while others try to re-create their Downtowns for a few, the majority of workers are losing their manufacturing jobs.

  • Chris Walker

    I am really sorry to hear that those families will have to suffer because this plant doesn’t meet Hillshire’s “long-term profitability expectations”.

  • David K.

    Now your breakfast sausage will be produced from Mexico, nice clean water down there. Plus it wil be trucked back to you with mexican drivers who can’t spaek english. Best of all it will come back to the USA tax free as the customs taxes coming into our country is free while goods going out are taxed. Thank your politians for all this, they are happy along with the 1 % crowd. More money for them.

    • Caring Person

      My family and I want be eating any thing that say Hillshire are buy it in the store. Coming from Mexico or Chin nasty

  • Disappointed

    I will no longer buy Hillshire products. I am very angry that Hillshire takes their consumer for granted and their employees too!

  • Bill

    Now the folks should insist on a townhall meeting with their elected officals, and see if they have a plan ahead for this MAJOR loss to the city. They’ve probably known well in advance that this was going to happen.

  • Unbelievable

    We’ll maybe the mayor and city council can convince wal mart or another chain restaurant to locate here. Walmarts recent 200 minimum wage jobs added to the local economy should pull us thru!!!! Lol. All that the local leaders are concerned with is increasing retail tax dollars, problem is they are getting the cart before the horse. If no one is working and they are not recruiting good paying jobs there will be $0.00 sales tax dollars to fund their retail recruitment. WAKE UP Florence

  • Steve Fuller

    North American Free Trade Agreement. ….. This ain’t just a Republican party or Democrat Party thing. This right here is what happens when D.C sells out their own.A nation divided against itself will not stand. While We The People fight amongst ourselves rather it’s the Republicans fault or the Democrats fault. They are ALL selling us our piece by piece. But hey what do I know??????

  • Patrick

    Why do you people think you are entitled to a job??? Businesses are supposed to be profitable and if this plant isn’t then it must be closed. Maybe if we all strived more to be self sustaining such as eat at home and grow a garden instead of eating horrible frozen breakfast sandwiches then we would be better off.

    • Vera

      Oh Patrick! I couldn’t agree more. In smaller areas you have a lot of seniority in these facilities ie employees that make more money and have been there so long effeciencies drop people get complacent and forget that they are responsible for making that company money! No company EVER closes a facility that makes money! Employees need to conduct themselves at work as if it was their money!

      • Unbelievable

        Vera. Apparently you have forgotten about TeeJays moving out of Florence and relocating to Mexico…….hard working people displaced by owners to make MORE profit.

    • Robert Palmer

      I agree with your point of eat at home and grow a garden. I am however concerned about trucking OUR jobs to Mexico when it would be just as easy to let the Mexicans work here and pay taxes.

    • Heather

      Those horrible breakfast sandwiches you talk about are bought and ate at home. Not everyone has the choice to grow a garden because of their place of residence. And those sandwiches are how I supported myself and my children. Everyone there takes their job seriously and that is NOT why the plant is closing down. You shouldn’t make ignorant comments about something you know nothing about. And I’m very sure you would feel very different if it was your only source of income to support your family being taken away in our economy now where jobs are hard to come by.

  • affected employee

    I have been an employee at hillshire brands for 3 years. I have worked in various positions including production lines, shipping and receiving and also the blending process. Everybody in the plant takes their job seriously making sure the products they take part in making meets company standards. We were told in our bi-annual meeting sales were picking up especially because of our new chicken products. i believe what made them decide to close is the unforeseen fire at our turkey processing plant. Nobody expected it to come to this. With my experience with the company i don’t see them assisting us the way they are describing. We are the largest and most profitable plant in the whole company. Good luck replacing the experience and dedication of workers who have been there from day 1.

  • frustrated

    This is getting totally ridiculous…it is WAAAAYYY too easy
    for these people to make a decision to close the doors on these
    places without a second thought….maybe figure out cause of the decrease of profitability and revamp some things and implement some changes…and if ABSOLUTELY EVERY OTHER option has been exhausted then this as an honest last resort…God bless holdn keep all those who r effected…..

  • Guest guest

    These people seriously called me to interview for a job two days ago. Glad I did not return the message and thank Jesus I already have a good job.

  • suddenly jobless

    I have worked at that plant for 8 years and all of the years I have worked at that plant they have told us that it would never close its doors so much for that load of bs all due to capitalism and government corruption America needs to wake up and take this country back from these crooks in politics and corperations

  • Deb

    Yes indeed, this particular plant is profitable. In fact, it is top three in Hillshire Brands. We meet our goals every year, increase our volume every year, and have been told every single year for the last 17 yrs that I have been employed there that this plant is not going anywhere. The reason they gave us was because most of the plant has been there since the 1930’s and is not easily convertible to new machines they intend to utilize going forward. For Vera’s comments of ignorance, seniority means nothing here as far as pay rate. A 1 year associate makes the same as a 30 year associate. Also, we are NOT complacent as we do make our goals and receive our bonuses for doing so. As for a company NEVER closing a profitable plant, guess there’s a first time for everything!

  • anthony givens

    I for one who just lost a job would like to know.the real facts about WHY this plant is closing ? Is it so they can move the operations to say Mexico? Where are these jobs going? I saw a picture a few years ago of the original owners of one of the textile plants in Elgin at a big party INA magazine for Alabama’s elite lifestyle . These are the same people who built there wealth on the backs of the local people only to move to Mexico to make MORE profit and are allowed to ship there products by in the USA. WRONG….Immoral.

    • Wake Up

      Capitalism is all about the accumulation of capital (profit). Companies go where they can make the most profit no matter what it does to people. Capitalism is the best economic system in the world — for some!

  • Deb

    Anthony, “they say they are moving operations to newer plants up north.” I have been there 17yrs and I knew the plant probably would not make it structurally for many more years, but always had the hope they would rebuild close and utilize the awesome work force they already had in place. Guess they want everything closer to corporate, which is in Chicago.

  • Believer Believer

    Sounds like they are leaving the country right before they would have to start paying for the more expensive Obomacare Insurance January 1, 2015. I bet they did not want to leave Florence at all. This is happening all over our country. I just said a prayer for the families. Maybe some will find a nicer job elsewhere. I was paced on lay off last year, and ended up getting a position I am much happier at. I am hoping God will bless you like he blessed me:0)

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