CAMPBELL - According to a statement from Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-NY, and Gov. Andrew Cuomo, officials are finalizing an agreement to sell the Kraft Heinz plant in Campbell, though nothing is official at the moment.
Word that an agreement is imminent began to circulate after Rep. Tom Reed, R-Corning, announced Thursday morning that the parties are closing in on a deal. Reed was the only official familiar with the negotiations to announce formal confirmation of a potential deal as of press time Thursday.
“We are happy to see that a purchase agreement for the Kraft plant in Campbell is about to be finalized," Reed said in a statement Thursday. "The new company is committed to preserving jobs and growing the business, contributing to our local economy. This brings much needed stability and enhances our region."
The offices of Schumer and Gov. Cuomo, which are leading negotiations, confirmed discussions of a deal but clarified that as of Thursday, a completed deal is not in place. They declined to comment on when a formal announcement of a deal is expected.
“We are in the process of finalizing a deal with Kraft-Heinz and its buyer. Nothing is official yet, but both the governor and the senator are doing everything in their power to secure a good deal for the workers, regional dairy farmers and the local community,” said Cuomo spokesman Richard Azzopardi and Schumer spokesman Jason Kaplan in a joint statement.
Reed's staff said their information came from Kraft Heinz. A spokesman for Kraft Heinz said Thursday the company plans to issue a statement today, but didn’t elaborate.
On Thursday, the Steuben County Industrial Development Agency declined to comment, and Campbell town officials said they were not aware of an official deal in place. The Steuben County Manager's office and the local Teamsters' union that represents the plant’s union employees could not be reached.
It’s unknown who the potential buyer is at this time or how much the facility may be sold for if a deal is finalized. It's also unknown what the plant, which currently produces string cheese and other Italian cheese varieties, would produce under possible new ownership.
If all goes according to plan and officials reach a deal, it could come as great news for the plant's workforce, which has had to deal with the potential of looming layoffs since it was announced the plant could shut down. However, it’s also unclear right now if all or just some of the plant’s more than 300 at-risk jobs would be saved by the potential deal.
Kraft Heinz announced in 2015 it intended to close the facility as part of a company-wide effort to downsize. Officials led by Cuomo and Schumer have been negotiating a sale of the facility for about two years to save the plant's hundreds of jobs -- a major source of employment for the Town of Campbell and surrounding community.
“As they have since day one, Governor Cuomo and Senator Schumer have been working around the clock in an effort to keep the Campbell Kraft-Heinz plant open and retain as many jobs as possible,” Azzopardi and Kaplan said.
Officials have until late August to reach a final agreement for the plant, a deadline that was extended in late May. If no deal or extension is reached by then, Kraft Heinz could begin the process of laying off more than 300 plant employees in Campbell as it prepares to close the facility.
The Campbell plant is one of seven facilities Kraft Heinz scheduled for closure in the U.S. and Canada, intending to eliminate more than 2,000 jobs.
Schumer will be at Corning City Hall this morning discussing legislation that could combat the flow of Fentanyl into the country.