Oreo-maker Mondelez cut 9K workers globally last year

Oreo-maker Mondelez International reduced its global workforce by about 9,000 employees last year, according to the company's annual report filed Friday.Globally, Deerfield-based Mondelez employed about 90,000 people as of Dec. 31, 2016, compared with about...

Oreo-maker Mondelez cut 9K workers globally last year

Oreo-maker Mondelez International reduced its global workforce by about 9,000 employees last year, according to the company's annual report filed Friday.Globally, Deerfield-based Mondelez employed about 90,000 people as of Dec. 31, 2016, compared with about...

27 February 2017 Monday 16:03
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Oreo-maker Mondelez cut 9K workers globally last year

Oreo-maker Mondelez International reduced its global workforce by about 9,000 employees last year, according to the company's annual report filed Friday.

Globally, Deerfield-based Mondelez employed about 90,000 people as of Dec. 31, 2016, compared with about 99,000 on Dec. 31, 2015, according to the filing. Mondelez is known for brands like Triscuit and Ritz crackers, Chips Ahoy cookies and Cadbury chocolate.

The majority of those job cuts occurred outside the U.S., where the employee count has remained at about 12,000 despite last year's layoffs at the Nabisco bakery on Chicago's Southwest Side, according to spokeswoman Valerie Moens. The reductions are largely a result of the company's ongoing cost-cutting efforts, which include streamlining the supply chain and zero-based budgeting, an increasingly popular practice in the food industry that calls for justifying every expense to keep it in the budget.

Mondelez, which operates in more than 80 countries and sells its products in more than 165 countries, has worked toward increasing profit margins in recent years, despite declining sales amid challenging economic conditions globally.

Last year, Mondelez cut its Chicago workforce in half, from about 1,200 jobs to 600, as it shifted some of the operations to Salinas, Mexico. More than 400 people received layoff notices, though more than 100 have since been called back to work, executives have said.

Nearly a year after layoffs, former Oreo plant workers struggle to find their way Greg Trotter

Susana Palomo couldn't sleep for a week, torn between a dream and reality.

One of the hundreds of workers laid off last year from the Nabisco plant on Chicago's Southwest Side, where Oreos were made for more than six decades, Palomo had embarked on a bold plan to attend college and perhaps open...

Susana Palomo couldn't sleep for a week, torn between a dream and reality.

One of the hundreds of workers laid off last year from the Nabisco plant on Chicago's Southwest Side, where Oreos were made for more than six decades, Palomo had embarked on a bold plan to attend college and perhaps open...

(Greg Trotter)

The U.S. employee total stayed at around 12,000, though, in part because of the company ramping up its e-commerce efforts and adding jobs to support that new direction, spokesman Michael Mitchell said.

Mondelez is also in the process of reducing its manufacturing costs, in part through closing older plants and upgrading others with so-called "lines of the future."

In the past four years, Mondelez has closed or sold almost 40 plants globally and streamlined another 70, as the company works toward manufacturing its top-selling products on the more efficient, lower-cost lines, Mitchell said.

Some of the global workforce reductions were also a result of consolidating back-office functions like human resources, finance, and sales and marketing, he said.

gtrotter@chicagotribune.com

Twitter @GregTrotterTrib

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