Am I Next? Riverbend Foods closes Pittsburgh facility.

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania-based Riverbend Foods, a private label co-packer food company as announced the closure of its Pittsburgh baby food and soup production facility on July 31, 2019. The closure will result in the layoff of 396 workers, many represented by Local 23 of the United Food and Commercial Workers union.

Riverbend Foods was created by Southlake, Texas-based Insight Equity in May 2017 when it was purchased from TreeHouse Foods. The 625,000 square-foot facility has also been operated by Del Monte Foods and prior to that H.J. Heinz. The company recently reduced production from three shifts to one per day and sold its main soup production line.

Following contentious union negotiations which threatened a shutdown, the company signed a 3-year union agreement, which eliminated health care benefits for current and future retirees, in March 2019 and then filed a WARN (Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification) notice with the Pennsylvania Department of Business & Industry noting that the company needed to “keep all of our options open in case circumstances beyond our control prevent us from continuing beyond the date in the original WARN notice."

Some published reports suggest that Insight never planned to continue producing food at the facility, but saw an asset play over valuable real estate that could be re purposed.

Change is coming. There will always be a tomorrow, no matter how much you may try to ignore it. There are no guarantees in life, or promises for a bright future. Just because something bad hasn't happened yet, doesn't mean it won't. It can happen to anyone, anytime, anywhere. No one is guaranteed to wake up tomorrow and still have a job by evening. Are you now wondering, Am I Next?