People online are calling for a boycott of H.J. Heinz Co., just hours after the company announced it would close its Leamington, Ont., facility.
Nearly 800 full-time employees were told Thursday the plant will close in mid-2014.
Two separate Facebook pages were created hours after the company broke the news to its 740 employees.
A page entitled Leamington Boycott of Heinz went live at about 9 p.m. Thursday, about seven hours after the closure was announced. By noon Friday it had 671 Likes.
"This page has been designed to be a vehicle for change in the unsettling news that Heinz Canada will be leaving Leamington," reads the page's description.
"I want to compile a localized list of all Heinz products, and also affiliated products to the H.J Heinz Company, so that we can collectively never contribute to the mass corporate pillage of our local people," the first post says.
A second page, called Boycott Heinz Ketchup, had just 27 likes by noon Friday. It was created at 5 p.m. Thursday.
"Heinz is moving its production out of Ontario by mid 2014 taking 700+ direct jobs and negatively impacting the local economy. Lets Boycott Heinz products," the page says.
'They were throwing stuff'
Workers at the Heinz plant in Leamington reacted with a mix of resignation and anger to Thursday's announcement that the plant would close in 2014.
Kyle Gould has worked at Heinz for seven years. He and other employees learned of the closure at a meeting.
Gould said some workers reacted violently when told.
"They were throwing stuff, yelling. People were complaining about overpaid supervisors who keep coming back year after year," he said. "There were just people throwing chairs, not a nice scene."
Bert Baillargeoi has worked at Heinz for 11 years.
"I'm hurt. I've got two kids to feed," he said. "I didn't expect this. I thought they were going to shut lines down. They're closing the whole. No body has a job."
John Skoczen, who said he's worked at Heinz for more than thirty years, blamed a recent change in ownership for the closure.
"I'd like to thank the American government and Warren Buffett for doing this to Heinz Canada. We take very good care of our business here. We're proud of what we do here. And you just crushed us," said Skoczen. "I would like to thank every one [of the] greedy selfish pigs for doing this to us."
Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway and its partner on the deal – 3G Capital — bought Heinz for $28 billion US in February.
In addition to the Leamington plant, Heinz closed two others in North America on Thursday: Florence, SC (200 employees) and Pocatello, ID (410 employees).
"I don't know what we're going to do," said Baillargeoi. "We got no job. We got nothing."