Chiquita Brands is telling the state of Ohio that 200 jobs at their headquarters Downtown will be gone after when the company moves to Charlotte, but they say the number of jobs lost to employees should be much lower, since many are moving.
Spokesperson Andrew Ciafardini says about 250 people work for Chiquita at their headquarters, almost all were offered positions in Charlotte, and almost half have accepted.
He says a very small percent were not offered a chance to move, but the company won't disclose the number. In addition, there are a number of outsourced jobs that other companies have provided to Chiquita in their Downtown headquarters, and that number isn't part of what Chiquita has reported to the state.
Ciafardini, who is a Cincinnati native who is moving to Charlotte himself, says most people who aren't moving with Chiquita made that decision based on spouses or children. He doesn't know how many have other jobs lines up in Cincinnati.
The company says that number of jobs being cut could rise if some people change their mind and decided to stay in Cincinnati. The employees will be gradually laid off. Ciafardini says there will be a handful of jobs leaving at first, with the bulk coming during the summer.
Chiquita has pledged to put 400 jobs in Charlotte over the next few years, with some coming from here, some from other, smaller Chiquita offices around the country, and others from new hires. Although there won't be any significant concentration of Chiquita jobs left around Cincinnati, there are 4,000 around the country in a number of areas, with a good number of them at 5 Fresh Express produce processing plants. He says Chiquita workers from here can apply for other Chiquita jobs, though he wouldn't too many office workers to apply for produce production jobs.
The company is giving transition help to people leaving the company, and in many cases a choice of the date they will leave the company.
Many months ago, Chiquita said it was considering moving, and late last year they said they had chosen to move to Charlotte, largely because of better airline service to foreign countries, and also because of incentives by North Carolina and greater access to Spanish-speaking job candidates.
The filing to the state is required by a federal law that requires advance notice of large layoffs.
Text from the letter is below.
NOTICE OF CLOSING
(Ohio Local Government and Ohio Department of Job and Family Services)
Pursuant to Section 2102(a)(2) of the Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act, Chiquita Brands International Inc. hereby provides notice of its intention to close its headquarters facility located at 250 East Fifth Street, Cincinnati. Ohio 45202-5910.
The planned closure of the headquarters facility is expected to be permanent in nature and will be completed during 2012. We expect that the job eliminations resulting from the closure will begin on April 6, 2012, and the anticipated schedule for making separations is monthly.
Bumping rights do not exist at the facility, as the facility will be closing.
Accordingly, we are providing notice to all employees who will incur an employment loss as a result of either not accepting an offer to transfer to Charlotte, North Carolina or having their job eliminated in the relocation. None of the affected employees are represented by a union. A list of job titles and number of affected employees in each job classification will be maintained on site per 20 CFR 639.7(f). The number of affected employees as of the above date is 200, but that number may change given that employees may subsequently decide not to relocate after advising that they would.
We are also providing notification of the decision to the employees individually and the Mayor of Cincinnati.