Ferrara Candy’s Bellwood facility, 3000 Washington Blvd. The company announced this week that it plans on relocating production from a Minnesota plant to Bellwood. | Google Maps.
Thursday, March 3, 2016 || By Michael Romain
According to multiple news reports, Ferrara Candy Company, the maker of Lemonheads and Red Hots, among other popular brands, is shutting down its plant in Winona, Minnesota and moving production to its plant in Bellwood.
The Winona plant employs 124 workers, who may be out of jobs by the end of April. That plant’s closing comes in the wake of a fire that took place there last month, causing heavy damage to production equipment, but little damage to the building, according to a report by a local Minnesota television station.
The Winona Daily News reported that the Minnesota plant was built more than 70 years ago by the Schuler Candy Company before various mergers and acquisitions landed it in the hands of Ferrara in 2012.
According to an April 2015 report by Candy Industry, a trade publication, Ferrara planned upgrades at its Bellwood facility, 3000 Washington Blvd., and an expansion of its Bolingbrook facility in order to produce a line of candies that would be sold in Walmarts across the country.
There’s been no word yet on whether the Bellwood facility’s upgrades will translate into more jobs.
Ferrara, which also operates a factory in Forest Park, has been plagued by complaints from temp workers who claim that the company, in collaboration with local temp agencies, treat them unfairly.
Since 2014, the Forest Park Review and The Village Free Press have reported on various protests outside Ferrara’s Forest Park facility by workers who, according to Chicago activist Charles Perry, claim they were told by the company’s supervisors to “keep quiet about injuries received on the job or risk losing their temporary employment; who were employed with the company for six months to a year without receiving a raise; who were shorted on their pay; and who were overlooked by the company in favor of Mexican workers — who the activists say may tolerate more oppressive working conditions than their African American colleagues.” VFP
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