Del Monte closing Sleepy Eye plant, with all workers losing jobs

The plant has been in town for 89 years.
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Food giant Del Monte is closing down its factory in Sleepy Eye, Minnesota, with more than 350 workers losing their full-time or seasonal jobs.

The closure was confirmed by the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED), with Del Monte confirming the plant will shutter at the end of this year's packing season, tentatively scheduled for Oct. 21.

Losing their jobs as a result of the closure will be 69 full-time and 294 seasonal workers, with staff starting to leave their posts from Oct. 2, though some may end up continuing until at least June as a residual operations wind down.

The plant has been opened since 1930 and according to its website produces more corn and peas than any of its other plants.

The closure has been announced as a part of a wider restructuring that is also resulting in the closure of another plant, in Illinois.

"This decision has been difficult and has come after careful consideration. This restructuring is a necessary step for us to remain competitive in a rapidly changing marketplace. Our asset-light strategy will lead to more efficient and lower cost operations," said Joselito D. Campos, Jr. CEO of Del Monte Pacific Ltd in a company statement.

"We are committed to doing all we can to provide the affected employees with resources and support."

In a statement sent to the Star Tribune, Sleepy Eye mayor Wayne Pelzel said: "This will have an impact on the school, on housing, on just a whole ton of things in the community. We are really saddened by this news."

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