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Local News

June 10, 2014

Chobani plant lays off dozens of workers

Chobani, the nation’s largest producer of Greek-style yogurt despite intensifying competition, is eliminating about 100 production jobs at its plant in the Chenango County town of Columbus, an official with knowledge of the layoffs said Monday.

But because the layoffs are a small fraction of the plant’s workforce of roughly 1,200 employees, the action did not meet the threshold for the mandatory notice of job cuts that would have had to be filed with the state if a bigger slice of its personnel had been idled, persons familiar with the action said.

The move comes at the same time that the yogurt maker has been adding management and technical jobs at its Norwich headquarters. Chobani’s business service center is now based in Norwich. A company representative declined to specify how many productions workers are being let go and how many non-production jobs are being added.

The company said in a statement that the job cuts in Columbus would bring the plant there “more closely in line with its original design.” It also said the Columbus plant, where the firm has invested some $300 million, will continue to be the distribution and production center for its East Coast operations and for certain international markets, including Latin America and the Caribbean.

Chobani said it is also letting go an unspecified number of temporary production workers at the Idaho plant.

“We are a young company that has grown very quickly and after a thorough and comprehensive review of our business, we made the difficult but necessary decision to implement operational and organizational adjustments that support our growth and allow us to continue to compete and maintain our leadership position,” said Chobani’s president and chief operating officer, David Denholm.

Denholm added: “Much like other companies that have grown so rapidly in their first decade, making adjustments to our original structure will further position us to continue to lead the category we pioneered and to invest even more in our business and future growth.”

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