Conagra closing Pinnacle HQ, second site — 500 workers face layoffs

By Eric Strauss
Parsippany/Cherry Hill | Dec 7, 2018 at 11:39 am

Conagra Brands, the food giant that purchased Parsippany-based Pinnacle Foods for nearly $11 billion in October, is closing a pair of Pinnacle facilities, according to a federal WARN notice — potentially costing 500 people their jobs.

Conagra, Chicago-based maker of products such as Healthy Choice and Orville Redenbacher’s, said in two separate notifications that it is closing office facilities at 399 Jefferson Road in Parsippany and 121 Woodcrest Road in Cherry Hill. The Parsippany property had served as headquarters for Pinnacle, maker of brands such as Duncan Hines, Vlasic and Birds Eye.

The notice said 308 people would be laid off in Parsippany and another 196 in Cherry Hill.

“As a result of an evaluation of its business needs in conjunction with the post-acquisition integration of Pinnacle Foods Inc., Conagra Brands Inc. has decided to make certain organizational changes,” resulting in the “complete, permanent closure” of the facilities, the company said in the two notices.

Some affected employees would be offered the chance to transfer to other Conagra sites, including Chicago and Omaha, Nebraska, while others would be able to apply for open positions at those sites. Conagra employs 17,000 people worldwide.

A Conagra spokesperson told ROI-NJ that keeping management located in the Midwest was the cost-effective decision.

The closures would conclude in March for the Parsippany site and in May for the Cherry Hill site, according to the notices. The spokesperson said many job cuts would not occur until well into 2019.

Employees retained beyond Dec. 31 would work remotely, the notices said.

WARN notices normally cover mass layoffs or facility closings as part of the Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act of 1989.

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Eric Strauss | estrauss@roi-nj.com | acerimrat