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Schumer: Kraft-Heinz and NY Investment in Lowville Will Be A Massive Shot In The Arm For Lewis County  

During his visit to Lowville, NY, U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer today spoke to workers, management and local leaders about both the future and new employment opportunities. Last week, Schumer and New York State Governor Andrew M. Cuomo announced a deal that would retain all of their existing employees at the Lowville Facility and add scores of jobs and millions in investments over the next five years. Schumer said the workers at the Lowville facility are a smart, productive and capable workforce, and the new, matching Kraft-Heinz and New York State investments will be a massive shot in the arm for Lewis County and Upstate New York.

“This agreement that Governor Cuomo and I forged with Kraft-Heinz is a massive shot in the arm for the Lewis County economy. It will not only preserve the 340 jobs at the Lowville facility, but even add scores of jobs over the next five years, in addition to providing tens of millions of dollars for factory upgrades. At a time when they were looking to trim down, we were able to bring Kraft-Heinz to the table and craft a deal with New York State that invests in this productive workforce, modernizes its facilities and churns out globally recognized products,” said Schumer. “I was glad to help negotiate this agreement with Governor Cuomo and Kraft-Heinz. This is a win-win deal that will be good for Kraft-Heinz and help retain and grow jobs in Lewis County.”

On November 4, Schumer and Cuomo announced an agreement had been reached between New York State and Kraft-Heinz to save three of their facilities in Upstate New York and add additional jobs in Lowville. Schumer explained that the Lowville Kraft-Heinz facility in Lewis County will retain all of its existing 340 employees and will scores of additional jobs at the Lowell facility over the next five years. Schumer said this agreement will preserve a significant employment base throughout Upstate New York for years to come. In addition, the agreement paved the way for a matching capital investment from both Kraft-Heinz and New York State that will allow for future investment in the company’s technology, facilities and operations.

Schumer said the Lowville facility was also included among the plants that are now set to receive a matching capital investment from both Kraft-Heinz and New York State. As part of the agreement, New York State will initially invest $20 million over the next five years at Kraft Heinz’s plants in Avon, Walton and Lowville. This is provided the company also invests $20 million over that same amount of time, which is agreed to as a part of this deal. If after those five years, Kraft-Heinz has not decreased their aggregate employment in New York State, and has invested at least $25 million in its Upstate operations, New York State will invest an additional $5 million, bringing the combined matching total investment to at least $50 million in Upstate New York.

Schumer said these investments will allow Kraft-Heinz to modernize their operations at the Lowville facility and other plants, which are becoming old and are in need of an upgrade to support production operations. Schumer said this investment in the Lowville facility in particular will provide the plant with the best technology and machinery needed to make the Philadelphia Cream Cheese products that are manufactured on its premises.

In summary, the overarching agreement reached between Kraft-Heinz and New York State will dramatically reduce the 939 total planned layoffs over the next 12 to 24 months. Schumer said Kraft-Heinz was initially planning to first close the Avon facility and layoff all 405 employees. The agreement reached saved that plant in Livingston County and all 405 jobs for at least the next 5 years. Second, Schumer said the deal reversed the planned closure of the Walton facility in Delaware County. This means all 141 jobs were saved for at least the next five years. Third, in an effort to help save the 393 jobs at the Campbell facility in Steuben County, Schumer and Cuomo secured a commitment from Kraft-Heinz to delay the closure and continue to operate the facility for at least the next 12 to 24 months, and to work with state, federal and local officials to help find a strategic buyer for the facility that would keep the plant open and retain the 393 jobs. The company has also agreed to offer any employees leaving the Campbell facility first choice for the new positions at the Avon and Lowville plants.

During his visit, Senator Schumer addressed employees and met with local plant leaders and elected officials before tour. Schumer was joined by Michael Tabolt Chair of Lewis County Legislature, Lowville Mayor Donna Smith, Frank Pace Director of Planning for Lewis County and Lowville plant leaders.