Soglin calls Davenport deal for Kraft Heinz ‘illogical’

Soglin calls Davenport deal for Kraft Heinz ‘illogical’

Madison Mayor Paul Soglin said Thursday he would not have been interested in presenting a package similar to one offered in Davenport, Iowa, to keep a Kraft Heinz plant in that city.

Kraft Heinz announced abruptly Wednesday that they would close Madison’s Oscar Mayer plant, moving 300 jobs to Illinois and eliminating about 700 production positions. At the same time, they announced a new plant in the works for Davenport, but also said they would be cutting the jobs at the current plant there by more than half.

“If I understand the Davenport package, I would not have been interested in competing for the kind of package they’ve negotiated,” Soglin told News 3 Thursday. “That doesn’t mean we couldn’t have done something else or more creative, but the idea of offering financial incentives for a reduced workforce is illogical to me.”

Soglin also defended the city’s efforts to try to keep Kraft Heinz in the city of Madison. He said he had a meeting with the CEO of the company in April 2014. His office also provided emails between Kraft Heinz executives and economic development staff from March, June and July of this year.

“Oscar Mayer is truly the foundation of what we hope will be an expanding food-based economy within the community,” wrote Matthew Mikolajewski, director of the city’s economic development division on July 29 to a Kraft executive. “We stand ready to help insure this great brand’s continued success within the city.”

Soglin said now he is focused on helping the workers affected by the closure find new jobs in the community.