Amy’s Kitchen will close its San Jose production facility in September
SAN JOSE, CA. – Amy’s Kitchen, a successful producer of healthy, organic frozen foods, announces that it will be closing its San Jose frozen pizza production facility.
The company says the factory will close in September, but pizza production will be halted in a few days. The closure will result in the loss of 300 jobs.
The announcement of the closure comes just over a year after the establishment opened. Amy’s Kitchen says economic hardship fueled by inflation, skyrocketing material costs, labor shortages and global supply chain disruptions are to blame for the shutdown.
“It’s very sad to have to do this, it’s brutal,” said Fred Scarpulla, Amy’s Kitchen acting COO. “It’s very emotional. I was very invested in the San Jose factory and really wanted it to succeed.” Scarpulla is also the company’s culinary director.
Factory worker Ruby Luna said employees were called to an early morning meeting on Monday and broke the news. “Shocked, I’m still in shock right now,” Luna said. “I haven’t processed everything yet. We pretty much all want to know what’s going on.”
According to the company, they are experiencing an increase of over 125% in the price of sunflower oil used in many of their meals.
And, while Amy’s Kitchen’s other three food processing facilities have been able to meet their production and revenue goals, Amy’s says their San Jose location is losing $1,000,000 a month, which according to them, cannot be compensated by their other facilities.
SEE ALSO: Petaluma-based Amy’s Kitchen embroiled in labor dispute
In January, the company became embroiled in a labor dispute over occupational health and safety issues.
The workers alleged that Amy’s Kitchen wanted them to work like animals.
“We want to be treated like family, like workers as they say,” said Ines Delaluz, who works at an Amy’s Kitchen factory in Santa Rosa, adding, “They push so hard. Even on the line, they work too fast.”
She said it caused serious injuries to her and other colleagues.
“Doctors, they don’t give me good news or good hopes that I’ll be like before, 100%,” Delaluz said.
Amy’s Kitchen has since said it has “invested heavily in the safety, well-being and opportunity for our employees…because it’s the right thing to do”.
At the San Jose plant, the UNITE HERE Local 19 union, which was trying to organize workers at the plant, believes that organizing efforts contributed to the sudden closure. “It’s definitely, you know, retaliation against workers for wanting to organize,” said Raquel Alvarez, president of UNITED HERE Local 19.
Amy’s Kitchen released the following statement regarding the San Jose plant closure:
Since its inception, Amy’s Kitchen has strived to demonstrate that there is another way to do business. We bring thoughtful deliberation and a culture of care when making business decisions. Like many other businesses, we are struggling to meet the challenges posed by widespread supply chain disruptions, fluctuating consumer demand and persistent inflation. As Amy’s Kitchen faces the headwinds of this economic environment, we have made the difficult decision to cease operations at our food processing facility in San Jose, California.
Our employees remained at the heart of our concerns during this realignment. In addition to maintaining employee salaries and benefits during this transition, we are committed to providing all affected employees with job placement assistance. We will continue to deliver on our promise to do the best for our customers, our farmers, our employees and our planet.