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Dole Fresh to close distribution center in Gonzales

By Ricardo Navarro, Reporter, Ricardonavarro@kionrightnow.com
Published On: May 16 2014 03:46:21 PM CDT
Updated On: May 16 2014 08:17:50 PM CDT
GONZALES, Calif. -

In an email obtained by Central Coast News, current Dole Fresh Vegetables President Ray De Riggi announced a restructure plan on Thursday which includes several management layoffs. An employee told us Dole Fresh Vegetables CEO, COO, and CFO have all chosen to leave. A follow-up email was also sent to employees Thursday; it addresses the closing of the Gonzales distribution facility.

"Imagine, I've been here for 30 years working here. This is part of my life here, from when I was 22 years old," said Andres Hernandez, employee at the distribution center.

Hernandez says employees there aren't sure whether they'll still have jobs.

"We don't know if they are going to let us go or if go to another location, they said yes. They will move us to Marina," said Hernandez.

Friday, Dole Communications Director Bill Goldfield he said the Gonzales shutdown will be relocating 45 positions from this facility to Marina. The email sent to employees references the closure, saying it involves "consolidations of many other positions leading to job eliminations."

"Its very disappointing to get the news," said Thomas Truszkowski, deputy city manager.

Truszkowski said whatever the numbers, shutting down this plant means fewer jobs for Gonzales. He said the city wasn't aware of any this until Central Coast News told him about it.

"The city would have taken some action to try at least keep the jobs here in Gonzales. It's not too late for that, but we certainly would have liked (have) to met with Dole and find out why they were leaving town," said Truszkowsk.

As for the layoffs Dole says, "it is regrettable that there is job eliminations, its not what we want to do but this is a move that will make us more competitive in the industry."