Sun Pacific Farming Cooperative to cut 2,100 jobs


More than 2,100 workers at the Sun Pacific Farming Cooperative facility in Bakersfield are scheduled to be permanently laid off in the second week of March, according to media reports.

Bakersfield.com, the Web version for The Bakersfield Californian newspaper, reported the company filed a notice on Jan. 12 required by the Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act. The WARN Act is a federal law that requires certain employers to provide advance notice of large layoffs. California has a similar state law.

News of the layoffs broke Jan. 30, the day before Sun Pacific of Pasadena, Calif., announced it had hired a new president, Robert DiPiazza. Some Sun Pacific administrators were unavailable and calls to others were not immediately returned on Feb. 2-3.

The company’s chief financial officer, Toby Maitland-Lewis, was quoted by the Bakersfield newspaper as saying Sun Pacific views the situation as less of a layoff scenario and more of a case of workers changing employers.

Sun Pacific plans to use independent farm labor contractors to handle the jobs formerly done by the Sun Pacific workers.

The move is similar, but on a much larger scale, to a step taken recently by Tanimura & Antle in late January when officials at the Salinas, Calif.-based company announced it would lay off 67 employees and outsource harvest work at its Texas onion operation.

Source: The Packer