Pennsylvania Congressmen Brendan Boyle and Kevin Boyle have publicly called on Mondelez to meet with them together with workers and community representatives to discuss the future of the threatened Philadelphia biscuit factory. Workers at the factory were called to a surprise meeting on November 6 and essentially told to prepare for closure, with the loss of up to 375 jobs. In a November 13 statement, the two Representatives said “We call on Mondelez International’s leadership, specifically their CEO Irene Rosenfeld, to commit to a town hall meeting with us, their employees, and residents to hear concerns and discuss openly what they plan to do. Their employees deserve nothing less.” State Senator Mike Stack has also shown support.
The same day the Philadelphia Mondelez workers were informed that the jobs were likely to move to Mexico, CEO Rosenfeld told investors in a conference call:
Year-to-date biscuits were up 7.5%. In emerging markets, revenue increased 11% despite China’s weak performance. In developed markets, revenue rose 6% led by strong growth in both North America and Europe. Biscuits share performance was terrific with more than 75% of revenue in key markets, gaining or holding share. Our Power Brands grew nearly 12% led by Oreo, belVita, Tuc, Club Social, Barni and Chips Ahoy!
Rosenfeld added: “We’ve also authorized a $6 billion share repurchase program and increased our quarterly dividend. In fact, so far this year, we’ve returned nearly $1.5 billion to our shareholders.“
Will Mondelez commit to talking publicly with the workers and citizens of Philadelphia? If so, will anything besides possible tax breaks be on the agenda? The record is not encouraging. Rosenfeld twice rejected calls to be interviewed by the UK Parliament in connection with the Cadbury takeover, even rejecting a proposed video hookup. Mondelez has rejected an offer from the US government to facilitate talks with the IUF over allegations of human rights abuses in Egypt and Tunisia. Will Mondelez continue to hide?