Rep. Bill Pascrell Jr. sent a letter to Mondelez International CEO Dirk Van de Put demanding information on the company’s decision to close its facilities in Fair Lawn, NJ, and Atlanta, GA.
Pascrell, who serves as Chairman of the House Ways and Means Subcommittee on Oversight, wanted information on why the company was outsourcing American jobs. The North Jersey representative was joined in the request by Reps. Brendan Boyle and Dwight Evans of Pennsylvania as well as Illinois’ Rep. Bradley Schneider.
The lawmakers argued the move would drive “race-to-the-bottom conditions” to benefit the company’s bottom lines, and would have a devastating effect on workers in both Fair Lawn and Atlanta.
“We seek further details concerning Mondelez’s policy of paying workers in Mexico low wages and how it may relate to the elimination of U.S. jobs. Reports that the company has been demanding cuts to wages and benefits in factories across the U.S. appear related to decisions to invest in and move operations to Mexico,” wrote Pascrell.
Prior Closures and Shifting to Mexico
The lawmakers noted a Philadelphia bakery was closed in 2015 with work shifting to Mexico, while nine of 16 total production lines at a Chicago facility were outsourced to Mexico.
Pascrell argued payment and treatment of workers in Mexico was not sufficient, and demanded further details concerning pay in Mexico and the elimination of American jobs. As such, he requested information on all of Mondelez’s facilities in Mexico, and contract information regarding its facility in Salinas Victoria.
The closure of the Fair Lawn facility was expected to result in a loss of 600 jobs, most of which were filled by borough residents.
Summer Closure Expected in Fair Lawn
The Fair Lawn shutdown is expected during Summer 2021 after six decades of operation. The plant was one of the largest Oreo producers in the world.
“These hardworking men and women literally just put their lives on the line during the pandemic, never missing a day so that Mondelez could meet the skyrocketing demand for their products,” stated Gottheimer. “It’s unfortunate that the company didn’t consider the offer we presented to help them stay and rebuild their iconic facility and remain in the community.”