75-year-old Nestle factory in Freehold closing this year

More than 200 employees work at the Freehold factory.

Lanette Espy and Jim Murdoch

Jun 23, 2023, 3:42 PM

Updated 355 days ago

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The 75-year-old Nestle coffee factory in Freehold will close before the end of year, according to a company spokesperson.
More than 200 employees work in the township. An official closing date isn't known yet, but several employees say the closing will be Nov. 17.
Nestle says although they’ve made “significant” investments in Freehold over the years, the factory's many challenges, specifically its age and limited operational flexibility, would cost tens of millions in additional investments to make it viable.
“We are committed to doing all we can to support our people during this change. We intend to work with the union to develop comprehensive separation packages for our hourly employees to ease the transition to their next career,” the company said in a statement.
“How consumers drink coffee is constantly evolving, and our manufacturing network must be set up to meet the needs of consumers now and long into the future,” Nestle said.
Freehold Mayor Kevin Kane says the Freehold community was disappointed to learn of the coffee plant's closing.
"Our hearts go out to the workers and their families, many of whom have dedicated their lives to their employer. In the coming days we will be reaching out to see what we can do to help these families," Kane said.
Kane says resources were being arranged with local, county, state and federal efforts to help keep the jobs in Freehold when they received got word of the facility's closing in the township.
"We were working with Sen. Vin Gopal, Sen. Cory Booker, Rep. Andy Kim and Commissioner Director Tom Arnone as well as the NJ EDA and Teamsters Local 11 to find a way to keep these jobs here in Jersey when they announced the closure date," Kane said. "It seems pretty clear that they already had their minds made up. Our focus now will be on helping the displaced workers and finding a new and better use for the Nestle facility.”
Nestle says the company remains a large employer in New Jersey where their employee base has doubled over the past few years.
Michael Wardell has worked for Nestle for 43 years. He says, "You've got all this innovation, everything out of us but you're not willing at least to accept the fact that we are worth something more. We can't compete with the wages in Mexico and never will."
"It's going to be tough for them, and again they're talking about giving them jobs and other Nestle plants, but they are not even in the vicinity of this area. So, it's going to be interesting to see how we get through the effects part and get the people what they need," said Michael Curcio, Teamsters Local 11 president.
Nestle says it has invested about $3 billion over the past few years to enhance its U.S. manufacturing network and capabilities to meet increased consumer demands. The company employs over 28,000 people across 28 states in the U.S. as well as 119 facilities.
Nestle says it will continue to provide updates to Freehold employees ahead of the factory’s last day of production in November.


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