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.