Province working to save 'much of' Leamington Heinz work

Ontario's Ministry of Agriculture tells CBC News it's working to ensure work continues at the Heinz Leamington plant even after the company ceases operations in June.
Ontario's Ministry of Agriculture tells CBC News it's working to ensure work continues at the Heinz Leamington plant even after the company ceases operations in June. (CBC File Photo)

Ontario's Ministry of Agriculture tells CBC News it's working to ensure work continues at the Heinz Leamington plant even after the company ceases operations in June.

"We are working with various interested parties that see opportunity in continuing some or much of the operations that Heinz is vacating," ministry spokesperson Mark Cripps wrote in an email to CBC News.

Several sources told CBC News on Friday that the plant will continue to produce anything from tomato juice to beans. The products would then be supplied to Heinz.

"However, these matters are subject to confidential discussions between those parties and Heinz, who in the end holds all the cards," Cripps wrote. "To ensure that such talks continue, we will respect that confidentiality."

Heinz spokesperson Michael Mullen told CBC News the company has no comment at this time.

Calls to the United Commercial Food Workers Union Local 459 president Rob Crawford were not immediately returned. The union represents workers at the Leamington plant.

Sandra Pupatello, head of the Windsor-Essex Economic Development Corporation was unavailable for comment. Earlier this month, Pupatello told Leamington Council that "dialogue also continues with all levels of government."

Nearly 800 full-time employees will be out of work when the 105-year-old plant closes.

Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway, along with 3G Capital, bought H.J. Heinz Co. for $23.3 billion US in 2013.

Buffet called the Leamington operation "an unprofitable plant."

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