SCHUMER HOLDS RALLY WITH BIRDS EYE EMPLOYEES IN FULTON; DISCUSSES EFFORTS TO SAVE JOBS AT CANNING FACILITY
Schumer Reveals Details Of Conversation With Head of Pinnacle, Birds Eye's New Owner Schumer Also Called Blackstone, Financial Backers of Purchase, Urging Them To Pledge To Preserve All Jobs Deal to Purchase Birds Eye Foods Was Completed Late Last Year - No Indication Has Been Given That Birds Eye Jobs Are Safe
Following last month's announcement that Pinnacle Foods Group had completed their purchase of Birds Eye Foods, U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer today held a rally with employees of Birds Eye Foods' canning plant in Fulton, NY. Schumer announced that he has called Bob Gamgort, head of Pinnacle Foods, Bird Eye's new owner, and urged him to keep every last job in Fulton. Schumer also called Blackstone Group's CEO, Steve Schwartzman, and urged him to keep every last job at the Fulton canning plant.
Schumer today revealed that Gamgort said they were in the process of reviewing the company's needs, but acknowledged that the Fulton plant has been an engine of economic growth for Birds Eye and that the work force was world class. Schumer said that the tone of the conversation was positive but no promises had been made. Schumer told both Gamgort and Schwartzman that he would do everything in his power to help keep the facility open. Today he also said that he would keep up pressure on Pinnacle until all the jobs were safe.
"For over 50 years Fulton and Birds Eye have had a mutually beneficial relationship, and today we're at a crossroads where we have a golden opportunity to preserve and even build on this legacy," said Schumer. "I stressed to the new owners of Birds Eye that keeping and expanding the facility they have just purchased would allow them to build on a world class operation and would clearly benefit them, and Upstate New York, for years to come."
The $1.3 billion purchase of Birds Eye was announced in November and completed at the end of December. Pinnacle Foods, owned by private equity funds controlled by The Blackstone Group, manufactures and distributes packaged foods that can be found in households across the country. The Fulton canning plant has been operational, under various owners, since 1902, and employs 300 people.
In an effort to preserve the jobs at the Fulton facility, Schumer today announced that he called the head of Blackstone Group, Steven Schwartzman, and the CEO of Pinnacle, Bob Gamgort and urged them to keep every last job at the Fulton canning plant. Schumer emphasized the importance of the company to the upstate economy and called their workforce "world class." Schumer said that the time may even be ripe for expansion, particularly at the Fulton plant.
Since the purchase, there has been uncertainty about the future of the canning plant, as there has been no indication one way or another what Pinnacle's plans are. Schumer also said that in the interests of consumers, workers and the people of New York, it is critical that the jobs at the Fulton facility are retained.
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