Durbin, Duckworth to Mondelez: Invest in the U.S. by Reversing Course on Corporate Offshoring

CHICAGO – U.S. Senators Dick Durbin (D-IL) and Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) are pressing Mondelez International – a confectionery, food, and beverage company based in Deerfield, Illinois – to end its ongoing corporate practice of shifting production from the company’s U.S. bakeries to its bakeries in Mexico.  Their letter to Mondelez’s CEO, Irene Rosenfeld, follows Mondelez’s move to close the Oreo cookie production line and cut 600 jobs from its iconic Chicago bakery, which has been a major economic blow to southwest Chicago and the surrounding region.

“The next time you buy your kids Oreos, think about that Mexican worker who was paid about $1 per hour to make those cookies and the American worker he replaced,” said Durbin.

“Mondelez relies heavily on American consumers but they’ve spent the last couple of years outsourcing middle-class jobs those consumers depend on as they lay off workers in Chicago, Philadelphia and across our country,” said Duckworth.  “It’s past time companies like Mondelez stop engaging in an economic race to the bottom by putting their short term profits ahead of American families.”

The letter was also signed by U.S. Senators Chuck Schumer (D-NY), Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Cory Booker (D-NJ), Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Bob Casey (D-PA), Mazie Hirono (D-HI), Tim Kaine (D-VA), Ed Markey (D-MA), Bob Menendez (D-NJ), Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Jack Reed (D-RI), Mark Warner (D-VA), Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), and Chris Van Hollen (D-MD).

The full text of the members’ letter to Ms. Rosenfeld is available here and below:

May 30, 2017

Ms. Irene Rosenfeld

Chairman and Chief Executive Officer

Mondelez International

100 Deforest Ave.

East Hanover, NJ 07936

Dear Ms. Rosenfeld:

We write to express our deep concern over Mondelez’s ongoing corporate practice of shifting production from the company’s U.S. bakeries to its bakeries in Mexico. While this problem is not unique to Mondelez, the recent examples of offshoring by Mondelez are particularly concerning. This offshoring of production and the resulting loss of thousands of good, middle-class American jobs have had a devastating economic and social impact on communities and families all across the United States.

Most recently, Mondelez’s move to cut 600 jobs from its iconic Chicago bakery has been a major economic blow to southwest Chicago and the surrounding region. The cuts are even more concerning when you consider that the company demanded that the workers at the Chicago bakery take a 60 percent cut in wages and benefits if they wanted to save their jobs. Taking such an egregious approach to negotiating with your own workforce not only hurts Mondelez’s reputation, it also deals a major blow to hard working Americans, many of whom are your customers.

Similarly, the company’s closure of its northeast Philadelphia bakery in 2015 put 450 people out of work and left an enormous economic void in a part of that great city. Mondelez’s actions, and those by other companies across the country that put short-term profits ahead of investing in America and the American worker. We believe this will have a disastrous long-term impact on the American economy, some of which we are already experiencing through the loss of manufacturing jobs and stagnation in working peoples’ wages. 

On behalf of the workers and their families who have been hurt by Mondelez’s decision to offshore U.S. production, we urge you to reverse course and bring back jobs to your bakeries in Chicago, Fairlawn, NJ, Richmond, VA, Atlanta, GA and Portland, OR and make a long-term commitment to expanding your U.S. production capabilities, thereby creating new jobs for U.S. workers. By reversing course and investing in the U.S. Mondelez could not only improve its reputation, but also help grow the American economy and the middle class, thereby strengthening the very customers your company relies on.

It is long past time for all corporations, including Mondelez, to end offshoring practices that foster an economic race to the bottom and put short-term profits ahead of American workers and their families.

Thank you for your consideration of our request.  We look forward to your response.