At a company-wide meeting, manufacturing and packaging workers at the Sweet’N Low factory in Fort Greene were informed by Cumberland Packing Company and CEO Steven Eisenstadt that all 320 factory jobs would be gone by the end of the year, reports Gothamist. The sugar substitute was first created at this Brooklyn plant, and the same plant has been manufacturing it for almost 60 years.
Global competition and high costs of labor and real estate contributed to this shutdown. Adam Friedman, executive director of the Pratt Center for Community Development, says, “It's a miracle they were here this long. They make a very standardized, commodity, low-value-added product, and that is not what New York is today, nor has it been for 10, 15, even 20 years.” Despite this, the news came as a shock to employees. Delbert Ranger, 52, who has worked as a machine operator at the company for about six years, says, “It's just like a bomb just dropped on us; nobody expected that.”
As a result, workers have protested the closing. According to Chicago Tribune, the company is helping employees find new jobs and working with their union, however details of where the over 300 workers will end up is still unclear.