News of General Mills' plans to shutter its Progresso plant in Vineland, N.J., sent shockwaves through the town, which prides itself as the soup brand's home.
The South Jersey Times Editorial Board opined about the decision -- which was announced Thursday -- calling it "a huge blow to what's left of South Jersey's once-robust food processing industry." Its writers had no patience for the language used by Minneapolis-based General Mills to explain the cuts, calling it "corporate-speak euphemisms for cutting good-paying jobs."
It is one of five manufacturing plants that General Mills plans to close, sell or scale back in the U.S. and abroad. About 370 people could lose their jobs if the closure is finalized, which is pending union negotiations.
New Jersey congressman Frank LoBiondo expressed his disappointment with the decision in a tweet.
Blindsided by news of @GeneralMills closing plant in Vineland. Long-standing partnership abruptly ended. Saddened for workers & families— Frank LoBiondo (@RepLoBiondo) July 21, 2016
And, he pledged to fight it.
I stand with Vineland shocked by news & fully support efforts to appeal decision. #Progresso history IS Vineland & future should be too.— Frank LoBiondo (@RepLoBiondo) July 21, 2016
General Mills inherited the plant in its 2001 acquisition of Pillsbury.
The other U.S. plant General Mills is shedding is a baking-mix facility in Martel, Ohio. General Mills plans to sell it to Mennel Milling Co. for $18 million. Mennel will become a supplier to General Mills and is interested in hiring many of the plant's existing workers. Ohio media reports the deal is expected to close by Nov. 1.
General Mills is also closing two Brazilian plants and downsizing its operations at a plant in Nanjing, China. In total, more than 1,400 jobs are at stake.
Its the latest move after two rounds of cutbacks that, since 2014, have cut nearly 3,500 jobs.