Kraft Foods to eliminate private fleet, cut 285 trucking jobs

By Clarissa Hawes, Land Line staff writer | 4/29/2014

When Kraft Foods announced it was eliminating its private fleet and would be relying on larger motor carriers to move its freight, approximately 285 truck drivers received word that they would be losing their jobs beginning in June.

Joyce Hodel of Kraft Corporate Affairs told Land Line the company plans to discontinue its fleet in three phases, beginning in June, and hopes to complete the transition by the end of 2014.

She said the decision to eliminate the company’s private fleet is “not a reflection on our fleet employees, who have done outstanding work.”

She said eligible employees will receive separation benefits that include severance pay based on years of service with the company, along with a medical subsidy for COBRA benefits for the length of severance, and outplacement assistance.

Hodel said while Kraft doesn’t generally share the names of the carriers it will use, she said the carriers are current “strategic partners with whom we already do a significant amount of business.”

“This is part of our broader integrated supply chain focus on supplier integration – to use the scale and capabilities of our strategic supplier partners,” Hodel told Land Line on Tuesday. “We plan to use contract and other commercial carriers to handle the volume of our fleet.”

After a local television station in Central Illinois ran a story about 60 drivers losing their jobs at the Kraft distribution center in Champaign, Ill., one local trucking company stepped up with offers to hire some of the Kraft drivers.

Amanda Glazebrook, human resources manager for Marvin Keller Trucking of Sullivan, Ill., told Land Line that she has received several inquiries from interested Kraft truck drivers after one of the company’s recruiters posted about possible job openings on the television station’s Facebook page.

“We are looking at this as being a positive for some of these drivers who just got some bad news, and maybe we can help,” Glazebrook said.

Glazebrook said Marvin Keller is a family-owned trucking company with about 100 trucks and runs east of the Mississippi. The company currently has 10 openings.

“We’ve had a lot of inquiries from potential drivers,” she said. “Some are still waiting to find out when their jobs will be phased out. One driver said he has been told his job will end in September.”

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