Kraft to cut 60 jobs in Champaign, 285 across U.S.

Kraft to cut 60 jobs in Champaign, 285 across U.S.

CHAMPAIGN — Kraft Foods says it will eliminate 285 jobs across 10 sites, including 60 jobs based in Champaign, when it discontinues its private fleet by the end of this year.

Drivers and fleet support staff jobs are being cut in three phases, with most of the Champaign-based jobs being phased out starting in late September and the rest gone by the end of the year, said Joyce Hodel, a company spokeswoman in Northfield.

The private fleet transports products and materials across Kraft's network of plants and distribution centers, and the company plans to begin using larger contract carriers to do this job, she said.

"Our fleet has done tremendous work, and this is not a reflection on their work, and they've provided terrific service to our internal and external customers," Hodel said.

She described the change as part of a broader focus on supplier integration and using the scale and capabilities of supplier partners.

"Larger carriers have greater scales and capabilities," she said.

Affected employees in Champaign were notified at a meeting Thursday, and are being offered separation benefit packages that include severance pay based on years of service, a medical subsidy for continuation of health coverage-COBRA benefits and outplacement services, Hodel said.

Kraft will also work with any employees losing their jobs who wish to apply for openings at the Champaign plant, she said.

Sections (2):News, Business
Topics (1):Economy

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MSJ66 wrote on April 25, 2014 at 11:04 am

Didn't they request and receive a bunch of money from the city(thanks to our underwhelming city council) for their new warehouse? Didn't they lead people to believe that it might lead to more jobs at the Champaign facility? Now here they are with a new warehouse under construction and already getting rid of 60 jobs at the Champaign plant. Same old corporate shenanigans and manipulating the stooges running a small town for other peoples money all while continuing to make a huge profit year over year. But on the bright side i am sure they are coming up with some way to spin some new taxes and fees as being necessary to keep the "city" functioning.

whatithink wrote on April 25, 2014 at 2:04 pm

You don't even know your facts, do you?

The trucking part is a different division of Kraft.  It says they will offer jobs in the factory to the truckers, but most will probably get a huge payout to retire early.  The  warehouse will be yet a different division of Kraft and will bring new jobs.
They ARE NOT taking any money, they have a tax break.  The ciy isn't "paying" for anything.  After the allowed time, Kraft will start paying full taxes and the city will start getting dollars from what would've remained an empty lot and no money. 

MSJ66 wrote on April 25, 2014 at 3:04 pm


Keep drinking the kool aid. A division of Kraft is still Kraft whats so complex about that. I believe that warehouse is going to be highly automated so don't count on an abundance of jobs at Kraft's (oh wait you said the warehouse is a different division didn't you, of what company again? oh yea KRAFT) new warehouse. Yes and my point is highly profitable businesses do not need tax breaks. There was an empty lot there and it is close to their (KRAFT again) biggest US plant so i'm betting they would have built there with or with out a tax break. Get your facts before YOU post.

Twocents wrote on April 25, 2014 at 5:04 pm

A huge payout to retire early? Are you kidding me? One weeks pay for every year of service is a huge payout? Some of these people have spent 20-30 years working for this company and may get 6-7 months of pay and then be out of work. Their families are blindsided by this and were not prepared to lose their livelihood this year. To take a job in the factory would be a huge pay cut for these men and women. Have a little compassion and get your facts straight before commenting about the people affected.

krafttruckerswife wrote on April 30, 2014 at 3:04 pm

Thank you twocents! I am the wife of a man who has been in the trucking industry for 30 plus years, the last 3 of which has been at Kraft. He was assured when he took his job with Kraft that Kraft would never outsource their transportation department, to be able to assure quality and be able to stay in control of costs. He accepted the job with this assurance, and had every intention of retiring from Kraft some day.  Last Thursday he was indeed blindsided by this announcement. Sure there are other jobs out there, but finding one with the kind of pay and benefits that a man with his years of experience deserves is next to impossible. And no, the factory does not pay what these drivers have budgeted their households on.The hardworking men and women of the Kraft transportation dept deserved far better than this.