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Stella D'oro Shuts Down Bronx Plant

Friday, October 09, 2009

Stella D'oro, the nearly 80-year-old bakery plant, has baked its last cookie in the Bronx. When the second shift of employees reported to work yesterday afternoon they were told production had been shut down for good. WNYC's Kathleen Horan has more.

REPORTER: The bakery was sold more than a year ago to Private Equity Firm Brynwood partners. A labor battle ensued between the new owners and the more than 130 union workers when Brynwood demanded sharp cuts in wages and benefits, saying the company was losing money.

The employees went on strike for nearly a year. It ended this summer when the National Labor Relations Board ruled that the workers should return to their jobs. Brynwood soon announced it sold the bakery to an out of state company.

Local 50 President, Joyce Alston, says she's devastated for the workers, many of who were employed for decades. And she's angry they couldn't have been told before they showed up to work.

ALSTON: They are really good people, they are hard working people - these employees built the name and they don't even have enough respect to let them know in advance when my last day will be.

REPORTER: Local 50 and other unions are fighting to at least keep the plant machinery in the Bronx because it was purchased through a tax abatement program. But a spokesman for the Mayor's office says although the sales tax was waived, the machinery was bought with private dollars. Brynwood Partners didn't confirm the factory's closure or return numerous calls for comment. For WNYC, I'm Kathleen Horan.

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