Less than six months after buying Dresser-based F&A Dairy, Montreal-based Saputo Cheese announced plans to close the facility at the end of May.
“As part of our strategic objectives to expand our market position in the U.S. and improve the overall performance of our U.S. manufacturing assets,” the company wrote in a letter to Dresser’s village president, “… Saputo has reached the difficult decision to completely and permanently close the Dresser plant.”
Saputo plans to lay off the majority of employees within two weeks of May 31, keeping a small group “to help wind down operations.” All hourly employees subject to the layoff will receive offers to transfer to Saputo’s manufacturing plant in Almena, about 35 miles away.
“We are hopeful that the vast majority of hourly employees will accept offers of employment at the Almena Plant,” Saputo wrote.
If 25 or more employees do not transfer, the closure would trigger Wisconsin’s WARN Act. Under the act, employees who are part of a large-scale layoff or plant closure are entitled to 60 days notice. If the act is triggered, Saputo would pay them the portion of those 60 days for which they did not receive notice.
Dresser’s village president, Bryan “Fatboy” Raddatz, said it was too soon to tell the impacts for Dresser.
“It’s too early at this point,” he said.
The layoff includes 49 positions across departments: packaging, cheese production, maintenance, managers, shipping, lab, milk receiving, administration and whey.
Saputo announced plans to acquire F&A last October and the sale went through in late November. The letter to Raddatz was dated April 22.