Victory Refrigeration will be leaving its space in Cherry Hill, New Jersey, costing 120 jobs, according to a report from The Courier Post. The plant in Cherry Hill will close in October and will move to a location in Pennsylvania.
Victory President Richard Babboni said that 83 of the 120 jobs being lost are held by members of the United Industrial Workers union.
The parent of the company, the Ali Group North America, is one of the largest manufacturers of food service equipment in the world. The parent company noted that the change in locations is part of a reorganization of the refrigeration group of the company in North America. The creation of the new division will work with the two commercial brands at the company, Victory and Beverage-Air. They are based in Winston, North Carolina.
“Ali has had these two businesses for many years,” Babboni said. “And they’ve just decided to consolidate the product and back office operations. October is the target date (to close), but it might go into November. For now, operations are going full speed.”
The current location in Cherry Hill is on Woodcrest Road. It is a 250,000-square-foot facility. The lease of the location ends when 2014 comes to a close, according to Babboni. The company was created in 1944 in Philadelphia and has been operating in Cherry Hill for 25 years.
The site might be the potential landing spot for Subaru of America headquarters, which is located on Route 70 in Cherry Hill. The company has wanted to expand for some time now.
An official from the union, who wished to stay anonymous, said that a rep from Ali Group North America met with the employees of Victory to announce the news.
“I think they handled it professionally, and we’ll be working here as long as possible,” the shop steward added.
“It’s a tough loss jobs-wise, and it’s a tough loss for the community. But it’s a business decision, and we can’t fault the corporation for doing it.”
The CEO of Ali Group North America, Filippo Berti, said that the change is occurring “to better serve and support our customers.”
Severance packages have been offered to all the employees of Victory, according to Babboni. The shop steward said that Ali Group is going to honor the commitments in the contract with the union, but would not talk about the terms of the contract.
The new location will be in Brookville, Pennsylvania, which is about 100 miles northeast of Pittsburgh. Babboni said that employees were told they could relocate to keep their jobs, but he does not think many of them will do so.
“It’s more than a five-hour drive,” he noted. “I can’t imagine a lot of employees moving. A lot of people have been here long term.”
Babboni talked about what he will do when the plant closes.
“I’m eyeing my options. But right now I’m not sure. Everybody is in the same boat here. We knew we had to decide whether we were moving locally or out of state, or even if this consolidation would go through. We were hoping we were just going to move down the road.”
Looking for manufacturing jobs? Click here.Victory Refrigeration Leaving Cherry Hill; 120 Jobs Lost by Jim Vassallo