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Layoffs coming for Wells Foods Corporation employees in Dunkirk

Posted at 8:40 PM, Jul 20, 2022
and last updated 2022-07-21 17:52:12-04

DUNKIRK, N.Y. — The Wells Food Corporation in Dunkirk will be making layoffs come January 2023.

Current employees told 7 News that Wells officials held conference calls Wednesday, saying the company plan to scale back operations at the facility. The company said it will go from 24 production lines to just five at the facility Wells acquired in April of 2019.

One employee told 7 News that he feels, "blindsided."

A spokesperson for Wells said he cannot comment on how many workers will be laid off, and Wells plans to operate as-is for the remainder of 2022. One employee, who did not want to go on camera, said he got a list of people who are will potentially have their jobs cut. He is on it, and said it includes various departments.

"They're still going to carry over 250 staff members here," said Dunkirk Mayor Wilfred Rosas, who spoke to the CEO of Wells on Thursday.

"He informed me what they intended to do, and basically said they did a complete evaluation of the project here, and felt they needed to scale back a little bit," said Rosas. "They still have a presence in the city, and they're still committed to the community."

Rosas added that Wells still has a contractual agreement from last year with Americold, a cold storage warehouse next to the facility.

The company will be holding meetings with them from July 27 - 29 to discuss their futures with the company.

7 News reached out to Wells Food Corporation for comment over the past four days and never heard back. Following our report Wednesday night, Wells issued the following statement:

"Wells Enterprises is always evaluating and evolving our business strategies to ensure the long-term sustainability of our organization and to meet consumer demand for our products.

As market trends shift in our industry, we adapt and optimize our operations to ensure continued success of our business. We recently completed a comprehensive review of our manufacturing footprint and our needs to support our overall business strategy. As a result, we have made the difficult decision to scale back operations at our Dunkirk, New York facility in 2023 to 5 production lines. Our intention is to continue our normal operations for the remainder of 2022.

We are still working through communicating specific details to our employees including the impact and transition plans. Dunkirk remains strategically important for our organization. We are committed to supporting every team member affected by providing transitional benefits and outplacement assistance."

Wells said there are no plans for layoffs at the company's other two other locations in Iowa and Nevada