On Tuesday Eyewitness News quoted Daviess County Judge Executive Al Mattingly as saying 140 workers at Unilever were going to be laid off after the company sold its frozen meals division to ConAgra. The Unilever plant employs about 600 people.
A spokesman for Unilever contacted Eyewitness News to say the company has a manufacturing service agreement with ConAgra through 2014. The spokesman says there is no announcement to be made about jobs at the plant, if an anouncement is to be made, the employees will be the first to know, and the company has promised to keep the employees informed.
Click here to see the release from Unilever announcing the sale.
Officials tell Eyewitness News Unilever, the plant responsible for making Ragu pasta sauce as well as several other food items, will hand out pink slips to nearly 140 full-time employees. They say they economy is to blame, and Unilever will be selling its Freezer Division to Con-Agra Foods because of that.
Being one of the largest employers in Daviess County, Judge Executive Al Mattingly says this is a huge setback to the area.
"With those factory or manufacturing-type jobs, it's always a blow to the community. These jobs in particular did not require any particular skill. There was a lot of on-the-job training. They paid fairly good wages and benefits so we will be hard-pressed as a community to replace those kinds of jobs," he said.
Mattingly says if there's a silver lining to the news, it's that the layoffs will happen gradually, not all at once. He recommends the laid off employees go to some sort of technical school to help build their resume and experience as they look for new employment.