CON AGRA CLOSING DUNKIRK, FREDONIA PLANTS

The Carriage House plants in Dunkirk and Fredonia will be closing by 2015, according to information from area union and Con Agra officials.

Currently, both locations employ nearly 400 workers. Work from the two plants will be moved to the location in Bucknor, Ky.

Before being purchased by Con Agra, Carriage House officials closed the former Petri plant in Silver Creek, eliminating 250 jobs, and downsized the Dunkirk plant.

Announcements regarding the closings began this morning with the third shifts and would be continuing throughout the day. The closings will be done by departments with a final closing target of February. Once a department is closed, the production lines will be taken down and shipped to other locations.

“That’s awful news for the community and the people working there,” said Doug Manly, former chief executive officer of Red Wing in Fredonia.

Founded in 1912, the Fredonia Red Wing plant is a part of Fredonia’s storied history. According to a recent booklet put together on the history of the company by Jeff Adams, it began as a subsidiary of the Cudahy Packing Co. as a grape juice company.

According to Ed Steele, former chief executive officer and president, his father was sent to Fredonia as an employee of Cudahy Packing Co. with instructions to either sell or close the facility. His father, Leon C. Steele, “made a number of changes in operations and the company began to make money,” Steele said in the “History of The Red Wing Company Fredonia, NY 100th Anniversary 1912-2012.”

It was during this time period when the company reinvented itself as catsup, chili sauce, jams and jellies were added to the product lines.