Nestle is firing up its assembly line today in Trenton with 121 newly-employed workers. The company has officially taken over the factory from Conagra – keeping the site up and running that was on the verge of closing its doors.
Nearly two years ago, Conagra announced its plan to close the factory – creating a devastating blow to the town of 6,000 and its neighboring communities. Earlier this year, final arrangements were being made to shut the doors in May when the two companies announced Nestle’s intent to take over the factory in June.
In an earlier interview with Missourinet, Phil Tate, who worked to recruit another company to run the Conagra plant, said the region feels like a huge burden has been lifted off its shoulders. State Rep. Rusty Black, R-Chillicothe, agreed with Tate’s characterization.
“Boy this was a cloud over the community. No matter what good thing happened, this was putting a shadow over it. The attitude with the people I’m around have totally changed. This is more than just jobs for that area. This is an important economic engine within Grundy County and within the City of Trenton,” said Black.
Nestle will use a one-of-a-kind flash line to manufacture a variety of food products. In 1964, the cooking process was invented at the Trenton factory. The line pipes food under pressure to large cans and cooks the contents by steam to sterilize the food while retaining flavor.
Nestle workers will make an average of more than $41,000 annually. The company, which plans to continue operating as an organized union factory, has signaled it future hopes of increasing its workforce and assembly lines. The Ohio-based company is starting off with a $55 million project but it wants bonding capacity of up to $75 million.
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