Are NJ jobs being lost to Mexico? Congressman challenges Nabisco
FAIR LAWN — One of the state’s congressmen from North Jersey has asked a snack food giant to show proof that it’s not moving jobs from in-state to Mexico, as a means of cheaper labor.
In February, Mondelēz International announced it was closing its facility in Fair Lawn, at a cost of 600 jobs in-state. Alongside the Bergen County facility, a longtime plant in Atlanta, Georgia also was marked for shuttering at the same time.
“No U.S. jobs will go to Mexico related to these two closures and U.S. biscuit production levels will be maintained,” the company said in a press release announcing the closures.
U.S. Rep. Bill Pascrell, D-N.J. 9th District, is not thoroughly convinced, and said it appears that Mondelez has been shifting operations out of the U.S. for the past several years, resulting in the loss of union jobs.
This week, he asked the company for a rundown of all its operational moves, including when jobs have been lost and created in both countries.
A Mondelēz spokesperson said to New Jersey 101.5 on Wednesday that the Fair Lawn closure was a decision “focused on our U.S. manufacturing footprint and our continued commitment to strategic geographic sites and manufacturing here in the U.S.”
The rep also referred back to the original written release from February.
Pascrell, along with fellow Democratic Congressmen Brendan Boyle and Dwight Evans, of Pennsylvania, and Bradley Schneider of Illinois, have requested a list of all Mondelēz facilities in Mexico, including joint ventures, plus details of any union contract involving workers there, such as wages and benefits.
They also asked for a full timeline of all bakery closures in the United States, including job losses and transfers to other U.S. locations.
Roughly six years ago, Mondelez closed a Philadelphia bakery that had employed 450 workers, and within a year’s time, also laid off 600 workers at a Chicago bakery.
In between, Mondelez announced an investment of $130 million in a new plant in Salinas Victoria, Mexico, according to Pascrell.
Under a signed 2014 union contract in Mexico, workers were to be paid between 150 pesos and 200 pesos a day, which at the time converted to roughly $1 an hour, according to Pascrell.
He also cited a Mondelez spokeswoman in 2017 to the Chicago Tribune, as saying the “average worker at the plant in Mexico makes total compensation — including a base wage and the value of benefits — that's equivalent to $7 an hour."