Heinz: Workers' Buyouts Offered After Changes to Take Company Private

Wednesday, 16 Apr 2014 03:54 PM

By Jonna Lorenz

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HJ Heinz Co. is offering buyouts to workers in Pittsburgh who may not be happy with changes to the company’s culture since Berkshire Hathaway and 3G Capital took the company private last year.

“Heinz realizes that its new dynamic and results-driven culture, focused on efficiency and meritocracy, may not be the perfect fit for every employee,” spokesman Michael Mullen said, according to Bloomberg News.

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Since last year’s $23.3 billion deal, CEO Bernardo Hees, formerly of Burger King, has taken cost-cutting measures, including eliminating thousands of jobs and announcing factory closures.

Heinz plans to fill vacancies created by the voluntary severance program, which is available to employees who have been with the company at least a year, according to Bloomberg. There are 775 employees in Pittsburgh. The buyouts include at least six months of pay.

The company had about 29,000 employees worldwide as of December, down from 31,900 eight months earlier, Bloomberg reported.

Heinz workers have until April 21 to accept the buyout offer, according to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

Unions that represent Heinz workers worldwide met last month to discuss concerns about changes at the company, including fears that the company would combine jobs and increase workloads the Post-Gazette reported.

While the company says it will replace the jobs, some remain skeptical about the motivation for the buyouts, KDKA-TV reported.

“If they’re just offering it to Pittsburgh, it sounds like something other than a corporate cultural change,” Point Park University business professor Elaine Luther told the news station.

Heinz was founded in Sharpsburg, Pa., in 1869 and moved to Pittsburgh in 1890 before being incorporated in 1905.

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