Following an administrative meeting Wednesday, it was announced the Cliffstar Corp. in Dunkirk will be altering its current shift times which will be leaving some 130 people out of work.
At this point Cliffstar CEO Paul Harter says he does not know how many employees will be affected by the decision to downsize from four – 12 hour shifts a week, to three – eight hour shifts a day.
“It depends upon how we structure the warehouse as opposed to production and how we structure maintenance and sanitation as opposed to production. They’re working through all of that,” he said during an interview Wednesday night. “The biggest thing we wanted to do Wednesday was, because we’re changing from an odd schedule being three 12s one week and four 12s the next week, that it does not really disrupt everyone’s lives. We really wanted to tell our employees that we were going to make this change and that it will be two, three or maybe four weeks before we get done sorting through all the things you have to do to make the change and be the least disruptive we can be in our employees lives.”
Harter said the company wanted to give its employees as much time as possible to begin preparing for the change, even though details have not been worked out. Those who will be affected, however, may have a chance to reclaim their position sometime in the future.
“There will be some people who will be out of work for a period of time. We have a normal attrition rate like most plants so the people that we do have off, I would imagine anyone who wanted to come back to work would be back to work by the end of the year given our normal attrition rate,” Harter said. “We hope that through attrition we will have everyone back to work by the end of the year.”
According to Harter the reason for the change is primarily due to the fact that the American consumer is simply purchasing less and buying patterns have changed.
“For us the problem that we have is that the American consumer is really having a hard time deciding what to do with her money now that gas is at the level it is at. And the prices for things aren’t what they were. For example, apple juice used to be 10 for $10 and you’d stock ‘em up, and now they’re two for $2.50,” he said. “There is a change in the American consumers buying patterns and that has affected our sales and I don’t think it’s going to turn around in the short-term.”
An official press release is expected today with more details possible.
Cliffstar provides private label juices for many customers in the United States including leading grocery, mass merchandisers, as well as food service companies and major retailers in Canada.