Back in November Oscar Mayer parent Kraft Heinz announced it would shutter the 96 year old meat and cheese porcessing factory in town at the beginning of 2017. Its headquarters will move to Chicago, putting 1,000 employees out of work.
Oscar Mayer, one of Madison’s largest employers and mainstay businesses for nearly a century, makes hot dogs and lunch meats here. Headquarters of the company, incorporated in Chicago in 1911, have been in Madison since 1919.
Moreover, this building itself is one with meaning. It’s the site of the 132-year-old meat company’s first expansion and, for the past 58 years, its headquarters—not to mention the home of the Wienermobile, which was only permanently installed outside Oscar Mayer headquarters a couple of years ago.
“Didn`t see it coming,” Doug Leikness, president of the United Food & Commercial Workers (UFCW) said. “We`ve increased productivity in this plant. We`ve done it with less workers, and now we`re getting the carpet pulled from underneath us. We just feel a big sense of betrayal from this company.”
There’s a few months until it’s all done. In teh meantime, the property has been put up for sale. Everyone is trying to get their arms and head around just what’s happening and what might be next.
Sometimes, the issues during a campaign are theoretical and one principle. Other times they are more. To folks in this neighborhood in Madison, one issue is very clear.