“The decision to close the plant was taken as a result of a review of the company’s manufacturing network in order to achieve cost efficiencies”, Dean Mastrojohn, corporate media relations manager, Unilever North America told CosmeticsDesign.com USA.
“The Melrose Park plant is scheduled to close in 2013 [but] a specific timeline for the closure has not yet been finalized. We also cannot confirm at this time when layoffs will occur.”
VO5 determines axe
The plant largely manufactures products for the Alberto VO5 brand, which makes up one of the main production lines at the manufacturing facility.
The Alberto VO5 brand was bought out by investment company Brynwood in August of this year and production has now shifted to California.
Unilever had to dispose of the brand in order to receive regulatory clearance to complete the acquisition of Alberto Culver, as required by the US Department of Justice. Mastrojohn confirmed that this requirement was a factor in the company’s decision to close the facility.
Other brands currently manufactured at the Chicago facility including Tresemme, Nexxus shampoos and conditioners and St Ives lotions and body washes, which will be transferred to other Unilever production facilities across the US.
There are currently 600 employees working at the facility, both in the office and factory. Unilever has plans to transfer the business to the company throughout 2012 which will include the employees based in the office of the facility.
Within the factory, there are approximately 200 union employees currently and Mastrojohn stated that union and non-union colleagues that are let go will be eligible for severance, outplacement services and other support.
“Benefits for the unionized colleagues have been determined by the terms of their collective bargaining agreement and negotiated with the Union in effects bargaining, which we have completed”, he added.
“We are committed to ensuring a smooth transition for affected colleagues.”