Skip to comments.Blue Bell to Cut 1,400, or 37 Percent, of Workforce
Posted on 05/15/2015 2:58:49 PM PDT by nickcarraway
Approximately 1,400 employees to be furloughed -- 37 percent of Blue Bell workforce
Blue Bell Creameries says they'll be laying off a third of their workforce due to the extended timeline to return to production after a listeria outbreak forced the company to recall all products and close its plants.
"Due to the extended timeline required to ensure the highest quality and safety of Blue Bells products when the company resumes production, and because supply and distribution will be limited for some time to come," Blue Bell Creameries CEO and President Paul Kruse said in a news release Friday.
Kruse announced, "'the agonizing decision' that the company will have to reduce the size of its work force by more than a third and will make other cost-cutting measures, including furloughs and salary reductions," the company said in a statement Friday.
Approximately 1,400 employees will be furloughed, and approximately 750 full-time and 700 part-time employees or 37 percent of the total Blue Bell workforce of 3,900 will be laid off, Kruse said.
The agonizing decision to lay off hundreds of our great workers and reduce hours and pay for others was the most difficult one I have had to make in my time as Blue Bells CEO and President, Kruse said. At Blue Bell, our employees are part of our family, and we did everything we could to keep people on our payroll for as long as possible. At the same time, we have an obligation to do what is necessary to bring Blue Bell back and ensure its viability in the future. This is a sad day for all of us at Blue Bell, and for me personally."
Kruse said employees that are essential to ongoing operations, cleaning and repair will continue to work at a reduced pay. A second group will be placed on partially paid furlough with the expectation being that they'll return to work when production resumes. A third group will be laid off, because there is not a clear timeline for when production will resume.
The company said the process of cleaning and preparing their four plants to resume production is going to take longer than anticipated, especially in Brenham.
There is no firm timeline for when Blue Bell will begin producing ice cream again. When production resumes, it will be limited and phased in over time, the company said.
Blue Bell also made the difficult decision to suspend operations and lay off employees at the following distribution centers: Phoenix (2 branches) and Tucson, Arizona; Denver, Colorado; Indianapolis, Indiana; Kansas City and Wichita, Kansas; Louisville, Kentucky; Albuquerque, New Mexico; Las Vegas, Nevada; Raleigh and Charlotte, North Carolina; Columbia, South Carolina; and, Richmond, Virginia.
I love Blue Bell. I hope they can pull their way out of this. But it ain't looking good.
This is a sad story. I’m not quite grasping why they have to layoff. Didn’t they just pull the bad batches from stores?
My Daughter teaches at a school which made a field trip to one of their ice cream factories. It was actually right before the first listeria infections occurred.
None of the students who were in elementary school, had any problems and the company was very nice to them. They even gave them free ice cream to take to their school mates.
I think they had to close the whole factory and they are still cleaning, they don’t know when they will reopen.
I am just learning about listeria, but from what I hear it is extremely difficult to get a production facility clean once it has been contaminated. They almost have to disassemble the whole factory and build a new one. There was some speculation recently that when Walmart mysteriously announced "plumbing problems" at a few stores and that they would be closed for six months, that this was really a listeria outbreak at those stores.
There are four factories; two in Texas, one in Oklahoma and one here in Alabama. ALL of them closed to clean them and please the feds that the ice cream is safe.
It’s really too bad, as it is my favorite ice cream, specially Blue Bell Banana Split (yum!), but I’d rather not die of Listeria, either.
“Blue Bell knew about listeria contamination, feds say”
Sad - it looks like they got some REAL LOSERS in management that thought the bugs would simply go away if they ignored them - while their bonuses piled up.
Lots of workers will pay dearly for this, and, maybe the first time in my life, I feel sorry for the workers - in this case.
Thanks. wow. Geez that sucks.
When the public forgets...sales pickup...those laid off get reemployed.
Interesting about the Walmart possibility. I just figured they were hitting back at the communist organized wage protests.
Not buying it. No company sells products that carry a massive liability.
This is administration hi-jinx...think Gibson Guitar.
It's no great mystery for me, and I had never heard of Bluebell before this event.
The fundamental cause was neglect of conditions and procedures that allowed the invasion of Listeria.
That this element of the event is not discussed is extremely significant to me.
Short description : unsanitary conditions and procedures.
That creates a HUGE task.
The reductions will be permanent. Any extra labor required will be sourced through staffing or temp agencies, at a greatly reduced hourly labor rate. This is how you reduce your overhead costs, and improve shareholder value, and this is what needs to be done to improce your bottom line.
Lots of companies sell product that carry a massive liability, step 1 is to think it won’t be that big. Especially with something like listeria which basically requires them to disassemble the factories, the cost of not shipping is extremely high.
“Not buying it.
Blue Bell admitted they knew about the outbreak in 2013.
Blue Bell was always over rated and over priced in my opinion. Their product killed people. Hope they go out of business.
Bad management I guess. What a shame for the workers.
Two dear friends of mine, a husband and wife, were just laid off from Blue Bell 3 hours ago. He was two months shy of being vested in his retirement. She quit a different job nine months ago to work with her husband at Blue Bell. They are both in their late 40’s and have three kids. Horrible time/age to get laid off!
Sorry to hear about that. That is terrible.
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