Hershey / PA. (thc) The Hershey Company announced plans to close the main plant along East Chocolate Avenue and expand its West Hershey plant. The company is proposing to slash up to 600 jobs in a move to modernize and expand one of its hometown plants and turn the other into an office building, Hershey said in a statement:
«The Hershey Company announced that as part of its strategic supply chain assessment it has reached a tentative labor agreement with the union representing employees at its 19 East Chocolate Avenue and West Hershey facilities located in Hershey, Pennsylvania. If the agreement is approved by the employees, Hershey´s Board of Directors will be asked to review and approve a significant modernization project to expand the Company´s West Hershey manufacturing facility into one of the world´s largest and most advanced chocolate-making facilities. Current production in the 19 East Chocolate Avenue plant, as well as a portion of the workforce, would be relocated to the West Hershey facility. Additionally, the company would continue to occupy a portion of the older 19 East Chocolate Avenue facility as administrative offices. Decisions are expected in June and any modernization program would employ rigorous ROI metrics to ensure that initiatives undertaken will be value enhancing for all stockholders».
The East Chocolate Avenue site now has 1’052 employees, while West Hershey has 437 employees, union officials told local newspapers. The 200 million USD, 260’000-square-foot addition to the West Hershey manufacturing facility would represent a 60 percent expansion.