The closure means hundreds of jobs will be lost, CBS2’s Nick Caloway reported.READ MORE: 2 Found Stabbed In Brooklyn, Police Investigating
The old cookie plant, standing tall over Route 208, has been a landmark in Bergen County since 1958.
On breezy days, it permeates Fair Lawn and neighboring Glen Rock with the smell of fresh baked cookies.
“As a kid, playing sports in town and riding a bike around town, you knew it was going to rain because you could smell the cookies,” said Megan Aylward from Wycoff.
That sweet smell also equated to jobs. Lots of them. The plant employs around 600 people. Most are hourly union workers.
Mondelēz International, which owns Nabisco, said last November it was looking into closing the Fair Lawn plant, along with another in Atlanta, Georgia. The company announced its final decision Friday.
Mondelēz International North American Executive Vice President Glen Walter said in a statement:
We understand the impact this will have on our colleagues at these bakeries, many of whom have been with our company for many years, and we will dedicate ourselves to working with the unions and our employees to ensure that they will be cared for and supported through this transition.
The company plans to consolidate its operations on the east coast to a hub in Virginia.
Salaried employees will receive severance and other benefits. Some could transition to other plants. Management is negotiating benefits for hourly workers with their union.READ MORE: NYPD: Bleach Thrown In Officer's Eyes During Clash Between Protesters In Midtown
“They’ve been working day and night throughout COVID, putting themselves at risk. And the thank you they get is a pink slip saying ‘You’ll no longer be working here,'” said Fair Lawn Mayor Kurt Peluso.
Peluso and Gov. Phil Murphy tried working with Mondelēz International to keep the plant running – even offering tax incentives. But it wasn’t enough.
Murphy said the company handled the process poorly.
“I’m not happy about this, whatsoever. And I don’t like the way they’re doing it,” he said.
It’s not just employees at the plant and their families who are affected. The indirect impact could he huge.
Across the street from the plant, Nabisco employees make up about half the lunch crowd some days at Hot Bagels.
“We will recover. But we’re more worried for them and what they’re going to do. We’ve been asking if they have a game plan,” said Ariella Omar, who works at Hot Bagels.
Company officials say the closure will happen in phases before completely stopping production in the summer.
Mayor Peluso said other companies have been showing interest in the plant, but Mondelēz International said the future of the site is unclear.
CBS2’s Nick Caloway contributed to this report.MORE NEWS: Democrats Strike Deal To Move Forward With Stimulus Bill Debate After Hours-Long Stall
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