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Oscar Mayer in Madison to Close

Kraft Heinz plans to expand in Iowa


Special from Channel3000.com

wisc-app-logo-pngOscar Mayer, which has been part of Madison’s northeast side for nearly 100 years, is closing its Madison headquarters and manufacturing plant, the company said Wednesday.

Kraft Heinz also plans to expand its Davenport, Iowa, facility into a “state-of-the-art location” in the Davenport area.

According to Kraft’s website, the Madison Oscar Mayer facility employs 1,250 people.

Kraft Heinz said it plans to move Madison operations to Chicago in 2016, bringing 250 jobs to the Chicago area. Company spokesman Michael Mullen said members of the Oscar Mayer and US Meats Business Unit in Madison will have the opportunity to move with the business to Chicago.

Oscar Mayer headquarters was moved from Chicago to Madison in 1957, according to the company website. The Mayer brothers originally bought a Madison meatpacking plant in 1919.

In August, the company announced it would be cutting 2,500 jobs throughout the company, which included 165 positions in Madison.

In response to the layoffs in August, Mayor Paul Soglin said he looked “forward to a continued healthy relationship with the company as we call Oscar Mayer and stress that this set back will not detour our efforts to create a robust food economy in Madison.”

Soglin issued a statement at a news conference Wednesday, saying his “thoughts and concerns are with the 1,000 workers who will be losing their jobs.”

“These men and women have dedicated their lives to this company, and they and their families are of the utmost concern to me. They are the heart and soul of the north side.”

Soglin said the city will work with the State Department of Workforce Development and the Workforce Development Board of South-Central Wisconsin to assist the workers in retraining and placement in their next employment opportunity.

“I am committed to working with these loyal employees as well as the local businesses that will feel the loss of this institution in our city,” Soglin said. “The company may be closing, but our relationship is not ending,”

Pat Schramm, executive director of the Workforce Development Board, said there will be federal funds to help workers.

Schramm said they will work with Madison College to help with worker training.

The 72-acre Kraft Oscar Mayer facility is at 910 Mayer Ave. in Madison.