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Unilever To Permanently Close Plant

Doors Will Close By End of 2012

Unilever, the international manufacturing company on John Street in Clinton will permanently close the plant by the end of 2012, according to news received from plant manager Paul Reiland today.

First Selectman Willie Fritz said he heard from representatives from the company that they are closing the Clinton plant.

The move will affect about 50 salaried and 135 hourly employees, plus an additional large temporary workforce, said Fritz.

Fritz did not yet know of plans for the disposition of any employees.

Unilever is a multi-national manufacturer of well-known consumer brand products such as Suave, Dove, Vaseline, Bertolli, Lipton, and Sunlight, to name a few.

They have operated out of the former headquarters of Pond's Cold Cream which was founded in the early 1900s.  Pond's merged with the Chesebrough Manufacturing Company which was then acquired by the Dutch company Unilever.

A press release from the company:

Unilever, one of the world’s largest consumer goods companies, today announced that it will be closing its manufacturing plant in Clinton, CT.

“Continually achieving greater efficiencies across our Supply Chain network is essential to our business,” said Paul Reiland, plant manager. “An extensive and careful analysis has shown that greater efficiencies can be achieved by shifting production to other company plants in the US. This decision in no way reflects the dedication or performance of our colleagues at the Clinton facility.”

Production from Clinton – which manufactures Vaseline Petroleum Jelly; Pond’s and Dove face care; Axe, Dove and Suave hair styling products; Dove lotion, shampoo and conditioner; as well as related trial and travel products, hair and skin tube products – will be transferred to other sites within the Unilever network in several phases. Plant production transfer is expected to begin in 2012 and to be completed by year-end 2012.

The decision to close the plant will affect 49 salaried and 135 hourly employees.

About Unilever North America Unilever is one of the world’s leading suppliers of fast moving consumer goods with strong operations in more than 100 countries and sales in 180. With products that are used over two billion times a day around the world, we work to create a better future every day and help people feel good, look good and get more out of life with brands and services that are good for them and good for others. In the United States, Canada and the Greater Caribbean (Trinidad & Tobago, Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico) the portfolio includes brand icons such as: Axe, Becel, Ben & Jerry’s, Bertolli, Blue Band, Breyers, Caress, Consort For Men, Country Crock, Degree, Dove personal care products, fds, Good Humor, Hellmann’s, I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter!, Just for Me!, Klondike, Knorr, Lever 2000, Lipton, Motions, Nexxus, Noxzema, OMO, Pond’s, Popsicle, Promise, Q-Tips, Ragu, Skippy, Slim-Fast, Soft & Beautiful, St. Ives, Suave, tcb, TIGI, TRESemmé, Vaseline, and Wish-Bone. All of the preceding brand names are registered trademarks of the Unilever Group of Companies. Dedicated to serving consumers and the communities where we live, work and play, Unilever employs more than 13,000 people across North America – generating nearly $10 billion in sales in 2010. For more information, visit www.unileverusa.com, www.unilever.ca, or www.unilevercaribbean.com.

More news on this to follow.

Daria Novak July 15, 2011 at 12:35 AM
How many more jobs must be lost before the Democrats in Hartford get it? This state is the least business friendly in America, the most in debt state, per capita, of all 50 states and companies like Pfizer, Unilever and others continue to close facilities. Who is next? You? Until we vote in fiscally responsible representatives, and hold them to the fire while in office, we will continue to see our economy deteriorate in CT. Write your legislators, work in campaigns, and fight for our state. Please join me in standing up to those addicted to spending in both Hartford and Washington.
Ron W July 15, 2011 at 12:46 AM
REST IN PEACE CHESEBROUGH-PONDS, UNILEVER FINALLY KILLED YOU.
R. Morriss July 15, 2011 at 12:59 AM
I find it very interesting that when Unilever closed it's City of Industry plant in California the plant manager said the following quote: “Continually achieving greater efficiencies across our Supply Chain network is essential to our business,” said Dennis Myers, Unilever supply leader. “An extensive and careful analysis has shown that greater efficiencies can be achieved by shifting production to other company plants in the US. “This decision was not easily made, and in no way reflects the dedication or performance of our colleagues at the City of Industry facility,” Now today, here's what the Clinton plant manager was quoted as saying: “Continually achieving greater efficiencies across our Supply Chain network is essential to our business,” said Paul Reiland, plant manager. “An extensive and careful analysis has shown that greater efficiencies can be achieved by shifting production to other company plants in the US. This decision in no way reflects the dedication or performance of our colleagues at the Clinton facility.” HOW ORIGINAL!! The company line.......
Phil Sengle July 15, 2011 at 01:20 AM
The public had better learn fast to stop sending big spending and big taxing liberal Democrats to Hartford. Until that bad habit is broken, nothing else will change.
Phil Sengle July 15, 2011 at 01:26 AM
The legislature spent its time repealing the death penalty, giving instate tuition to illegal aliens, decriminalizing marijuana, mandating more paid sick days for a shrinking work force and raising taxes. With the dopes we keep electing (it really is our fault) the jobs will keep leaving and so will our children. As Rome burns they fiddle.
Steve Bristol July 15, 2011 at 01:07 PM
It makes sense to me to use the same line when it applies. Plant operations have been down-sized over many years, the Democrat-controlled legislature cranks out more business-unfriendly policy, and the town's taxes continue their upward spiral. The future looks even more bleak locally with the huge push to ram through a new school before we get hit with another huge bill for whatever solution to the septic problems gets dropped on us. The Harbor News just had an article about Saybrook's remedy getting going so I'm sure eyes will focus on us very soon. Hey, let's buy the Unilever property and build a sewage facility on it. We're already used to odors coming from there. Of course the odors might not be the same.
Bruce Langevin July 15, 2011 at 02:57 PM
It is a sad day indeed for the many employees and the town of Clinton. Clinton and Unilever (Chesebrough-Ponds) have been a major part of my life before I retired from there (after 25 years) and moved out of state. My heart goes out to all the employees and to the town of Clinton.
Kirk Carr July 15, 2011 at 03:44 PM
The state does not bear responsibility for Clinton's withering tax base alone. When pointing a finger at Hartford, three fingers point back at Clinton. Clinton's high taxes, antiquated infrastructure and the spendthrift school administration are three highly toxic components. As the second largest taxpayer on Clinton's grand list at $23 million in 2010, Unilever already pays over $500 thousand in taxes annually. When they opened their tax bill last month, the Clinton mill rate had jumped from 22.41 to 24.92 or 11%. While the company can't move the taxable real estate out of Clinton, its value as a vacant building declines and they can remove taxable equipment that will potentially leave a significant hole in Clinton's finances that the rest of us will have to fill. Clinton is on a collision course with unsustainable tax increases and economic collapse. Wake up Clinton, the bell tolls for thee!
Daria Novak July 15, 2011 at 04:28 PM
CT places onerous requirements on businesses making it almost impossible to do business here. A CEO of one of the top insurance companies in CT earlier this year said that they are considering leaving after operating here for 187 years. Why? Cost! Why invest in better plant and equipment here when companies can go to Right to Work states. those states have higher levels of education, better housing prices, lower taxes, a higher standard of living. They outdo CT on every statistic. It costs about the same to keep an employee working in CT as it does in NY City now! Mass. is advertising in NE CT telling our businesses to relocate there as they are MORE business friendly and have lower taxes. These are the result of failed policies passed the Democrats in Hartford and they are strangling us in CT. California spends like CT and look at the results there. Many CT towns, along with the state, must break the spending habit. The extreme spending addiction is hurting our children's generation by saddling them with debt we are creating. I grew up in this beautiful state. I am raising my children here because I love it. I don't want to one day be a grandmother telling stories about the day in America, long ago, when we were a free and prosperous country. I want my family and yours to have an equal opportunity to pursue their dreams.
Stephen King July 16, 2011 at 01:51 AM
Heck, this should not come as a surprise. There have been plenty of warning signs to suggest this anticipated move. The real question is whether town leadership planned for the tax repercussions if it did happen, My bet is they are now scrambling to determine what that will be. More important than tax revenue, this town needs to assess the environmental condition of the property before the facility closes and determine potential legal remedies if pollution does exist. But then again, I'm not holding my breath for such foresight in this town.
Steve Bristol July 16, 2011 at 03:35 PM
You're so cynical. ;?)
Ryan Burke January 24, 2012 at 12:59 PM
What can everyone tell me about the history behind the Unilever Plant? Besides formally being the Chesebrough Maunfacturing Facility, when was it built? What were the historical operations on their property? Were there any adverse affects to the envirnmental conditions on the property?
Kevin Dyer August 02, 2012 at 02:39 PM
Hi, this is Kevin Dyer at InterPRO www.interpromodels.com. I was a Clinton resident for many years. My company is setting up a molding operaton here in our Deep RIver facility. If you know of anyone who is involved with injection mold tool building and/or injection molding at the Clinton plant, who may be seeking employment, please let them know that we are hoping to hire people with this experience. Our phone is 860-526-5869 and my extension is 103. Thanks.
Steve Rose December 03, 2012 at 05:18 PM
I have worked at unilever for 22 years and I will cherish the good times when it was cheseborough ponds. I am glad that i experienced to know the company as well as the people that was really good to me. Right now, my heart goes out to all employees and managers that were really good to me. I can not believe this is happening to all of us. After I found out I was part of layoff, my health went down hill. Somebody told me one day, Steve, it is time to be reborn again and get your strength and energy back into your blood. I took that advice and right now, I can take on the world step by step. Nothing will never knock this mountain down ever again.
Bobby Lexington December 03, 2012 at 07:47 PM
Unilever is eliminating ownership of any facility or property in the country. All production is being shifted to copackers. This is a directive from management in The Netherlands and UK. It has nothing to do with taxation or Hartford.
Bruce Langevin December 03, 2012 at 08:06 PM
Bobby, not sure where you heard that but it is completely wrong. Unilever is operating in several communities and has invested millions in other US locations. Check your facts before you post incorrect information.

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