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Progresso Soup Plant Expected To Shut Down In South Jersey

by David Madden

VINELAND, NJ (CBS) -- You may have seen TV commercials for Progresso soups, touting the fact they're made in Vineland, New Jersey. Well, apparently, not for much longer.

The plant was abruptly shut down Wednesday afternoon. Thursday morning, more than 300 workers were given the bad news.

"They used the word tentative." Brian String, President of UFCW Local 152 told KYW Newsradio. "They were tentatively going to close the Vineland plant because of overcapacity is the term that the gentleman from corporate used."

The plant will reopen Monday, according to String, but no one is sure for how long.

"It reeks of something very disingenuous," he added. "We had just negotiated a brand new collective bargaining agreement with them that we voted on with the membership back in May."

A statement from parent company General Mills says the decision "is subject to negotiations with union officials." Members of the Teamsters are also among the 370 employees at the Vineland plant.

The statement continues, "We've appreciated the long-term support and public partnership we've had with Cumberland County. Unfortunately, business situations have changed and the tentative decision announced today has to do with our current business environment and excess capacity in our supply chain."

Plans are to consolidate operations at other Progresso plants across America.

State Senator Jeff Van Drew (D-Cape May County) issued his own statement, expressing disappointment with the announcement and vowed to work with local and state officials to keep the plant open, if possible, or to find a replacement business.

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