BRENHAM, Texas (KXAN) — Hundreds of Blue Bell employees across the country will lose their jobs as the company works on cleaning and sanitizing their production plants. On Friday, Blue Bell said they made the “agonizing decision” to reduce the size of its workforce as well as implement furloughs and salary reductions.
The company says out of its 3,900 employees, 1,400 employees will be furloughed and another 1,450 (250 in Brenham) employees will be laid off. According to the company, employees who are essential to ongoing operations and cleaning and repair efforts will continue to work but have their pay reduced. The employees placed on furlough will be paid at a lesser amount, with the expectation that they will return to work as production resumes.
“The agonizing decision to lay off hundreds of our great workers and reduce hours and pay for others was the most difficult one I have had to make in my time as Blue Bell’s CEO and President,” Kruse said. “At Blue Bell, our employees are part of our family, and we did everything we could to keep people on our payroll for as long as possible. At the same time, we have an obligation to do what is necessary to bring Blue Bell back and ensure its viability in the future. This is a sad day for all of us at Blue Bell, and for me personally.”
Blue Bell also decided to suspend operations at 14 distribution centers in 10 states.
The company says there is still no firm deadline for when Blue Bell will begin producing ice cream again. Blue Bell added production will be limited when they reopen and phased in over time.
The CEO of Blue Bell, Paul Kruse also posted a video about the cost saving measures:
Blue Bell said they will be contacting chambers of commerce to ask for assistance finding jobs for those who were laid off. The company is also asking businesses who may have jobs available to contact Blue Bell.