U.S. Senators Dick Durbin (D-IL) and Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) have co-authored a letter along with other Senate Democrats urging Mondelez International to stop shipping jobs to Mexico.
Mondelez is a food company which is based in Deerfield and has a large plant in Rockford.
The letter comes after the company decided in 2015 to close the Oreo cookie production line at its Chicago bakery, cutting 600 jobs, and move production to Mexico, which was completed in 2016. In fact, the closure became an election issue for then-candidate Donald Trump as he campaigned before the 2016 Illinois primary, saying if elected he could stop it in the future. It’s unclear what prompted the Senators to write a letter now.
“The next time you buy your kids Oreos, think about that Mexican worker who was paid about $1 per hour to make those cookies and the American worker he replaced,” said Sen. Durbin in a news release along with the letter.
But a spokesperson for Mondelez says much of what is in the letter is mistaken. While the company concedes some production was moved from Chicago to Mexico, it was because of new manufacturing lines which would have cost the Chicago operation hundreds of jobs no matter what. She notes Mondolez still maintains production lines in Chicago, and employs more than 17000 nationwide.
Other closures of plants involved primary biscuit manufacturing, which Mondolez has been consolidating in the U.S. and not shipping jobs to Mexico, and that the company has invested more than $500 million in production facilities in the U.S. since 2012.
Mondolez’s CEO does plan to respond in writing to the Senators’ letter.
The letter was also signed by U.S. Senators Chuck Schumer (D-NY), Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Cory Booker (D-NJ), Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Bob Casey (D-PA), Mazie Hirono (D-HI), Tim Kaine (D-VA), Ed Markey (D-MA), Bob Menendez (D-NJ), Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Jack Reed (D-RI), Mark Warner (D-VA), Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), and Chris Van Hollen (D-MD).
The full text of the letter is available here.