Unilever to lay off more than 200 in Clearwater plant closure

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Unilever Manufacturing, the global consumer goods provider, announced on Monday it will be closing its Clearwater facility, permanently laying off all 210 employees.

Unilever filed its intent with the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity’s Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification, or WARN, saying it will conduct layoffs between Sept. 14 and Dec. 31.

The facility is an ice cream plant located at 5400 118th Ave. N.

Unilever spokesperson Jaime Stein said employees received notice of the closing and layoffs two weeks ago. They can apply for other positions within Unilever, Stein added.

Recent investments in technology led to the decision to transition the ice cream manufacturing at the Clearwater plant to other Unilever facilities, such as Sikeston, Mo. and Covington, Tenn. Last year, the company invested $108 million in the Covington facility.

The Clearwater factory has operated since 1982 and was acquired by Unilever in 1993. Stein could not say if Unilever will keep the structure.

Phil Ammann is a St. Petersburg-based journalist and blogger. With more than three decades of writing, editing and management experience, Phil produced material for both print and online, in addition to founding HRNewsDaily.com. His broad range includes covering news, local government and culture reviews for Patch.com, technical articles and profiles for BetterRVing Magazine and advice columns for a metaphysical website, among others. Phil has served as a contributor and production manager for SaintPetersBlog since 2013. He lives in St. Pete with his wife, visual artist Margaret Juul and can be reached at phil@floridapolitics.com and on Twitter @PhilAmmann.