SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Campbell Soup Co. on Thursday announced the closing of its south Sacramento plant, where the company has made canned soup for more than 60 years.
The plant will be phased out, with final shutdown coming next July. It will eliminate 700 full-time jobs, a devastating development in one of the region’s most hardscrabble neighborhoods.
The company said it plans to shift most of Sacramento’s production to Campbell’s remaining plants in Maxton, N.C.; Napoleon, Ohio; and Paris, Texas.
“Within that plant network, we have excess capacity,” said Campbell’s spokesman Anthony Sanzio in an interview outside the plant Thursday morning. The plant’s workers, who are members of the Teamsters union, earn as much as $20 an hour, said Troy Givans, interim economic development manager for Sacramento County.
Workers learned of the shutdown in a predawn meeting inside the plant. At around 6:30 a.m., employees started streaming out of the parking lots in cars and pickups through the main gate. Some were resigned to their fate, while others were angry, punching the gas and squealing away.
“Gone. No more Campbell Soup,” said one worker who left on a bike.
Jesse Shanker, a 22-year employee, said the closure wasn’t a surprise. “Finally, today, they made the announcement they were closing it down. They told us that soup sales are going really, really slow, and it has been sliding over the years. And right now, they can’t afford to run this plant.”
Sanzio said, “Sacramento is one of our oldest plants, one of our least efficient. It has the highest product cost per case of any plant in the U.S. So from a business decision, the case (to close) is clear and compelling.”
The plant opened in 1947.