Labor unions and local leaders are calling for ConAgra Foods to preserve at least some area jobs and take other steps to help workers facing unemployment when ConAgra closes Carriage House plants in Dunkirk and Fredonia early next year.
A rally that will draw upon those themes is scheduled for 5 p.m. Thursday at Barker Common in Fredonia. Unions that belong to the Western New York Area Labor Federation, AFL-CIO, are scheduled to participate, along with business owners and elected, community and faith leaders. Organizers hope to attract about 200 people.
The workers at the two food processing plants are represented by Chapter 266 NCFO, Service Employees International Union 32BJ. ConAgra plans to finish shutting down the Chautauqua County plants by February, eliminating 425 jobs. The company confirmed the closing plans in March.
Rally participants will call for ConAgra to keep open at least some of its operations in the community, such as warehousing. They will also urge ConAgra to provide affected workers with a “fair severance package” that will allow them to stay in the area and find other jobs. And they are calling for ConAgra to sell unused facilities to prospective buyers with “no strings attached,” meaning ConAgra should not prevent another food processor from buying.