CHICAGO (AP) — Mayor Rahm Emanuel is crediting Chicago’s workforce and its transportation networks for the decision by Kraft Heinz to move Oscar Mayer’s headquarters to the city.
Kraft Heinz announced Wednesday about 250 corporate jobs will be relocated from Madison, Wis., to Chicago, where Oscar Mayer was founded in 1883.
The announcement came as the newly-merged company announced it will close seven plants in the U.S. and Canada over the next two years and eliminate 2,600 jobs.
That includes the flagship Oscar Mayer plant in Madison, which employs about 1,000 workers.
State Senator Fred Risser and state Representative Chris Taylor, Madison Democrats whose districts include the plant, call the announcement “gut wrenching.”
Risser and Taylor say they already have spoken to Madison Mayor Paul Soglin’s office and Gov. Scott Walker’s office about keeping the company in Madison and saving those jobs.
The company, formed from the merger of Kraft and Heinz earlier this year and co-headquartered in Chicago and Pittsburgh, also said its cheese production will be moved away from Champaign, Ill.
Emanuel said Oscar Mayer’s move to Chicago adds to the city’s appeal as a leading destination for food companies. ConAgra recently announced it will move its headquarters from Omaha, Nebraska to Chicago.