The Hershey Company to layoff 200 workers in March

Chocolate giant The Hershey Co. will layoff 200 hourly and salaried workers in March as part of its ongoing transition to the expanded Old West Chocolate Avenue facility in Derry Township.

That transition is expected to be mostly complete by the end of March, but the lines at Hershey's traditional factory on East Chocolate Avenue will not stop producing until early April, spokesman Jeff Beckman said.

More than 500 workers will transition to the expanded west plant by the end of March, he said. The older factory still is producing Kisses, Hershey's Syrup, chocolate bars and Rolos. The company began sending notices to workers last week, he said.

The number of layoffs is less than the nearly 400 job cuts the company considered, said Dennis Bomberger, business manager for Chocolate Workers Local 464 of the Bakery Confectionery Tobacco Workers & Grain Millers International Union, which represents Hershey workers.

The union voted for the company to cut the midstate workforce by as many as 600 jobs in 2010 when Hershey first announced its plans to close the older facility. The union was facing a possible move of production to another state without the vote.

Whether all 200 people are laid off permanently is yet to be seen, Bomberger said. The company could meet part of the cuts through voluntary attrition and retirements, and it could put workers on a list of permanent extras who substitute for others during vacations and illnesses, he said.

More than 1,200 people work in Hershey's two Dauphin County plants, Bomberger said.

Source: Central Penn Business