Woodbridge—Local and state officials, religious, academic and labor leaders said today that the plan by C&S Wholesale Grocers to close its distribution center in Woodbridge that services A&P stores and move more than 1,300 jobs out-of-state will severely impact New Jersey’s economy, according to a blue ribbon report released at a news conference today.
C&S plans to close the facility on February 5 and move the jobs to Pennsylvania. At the news conference, officials called for C&S to postpone the closure for 90 days to see if a solution can be worked out to keep the warehouse operating.
“C&S is thinking only of the bottom line and forgetting about the hard work their workers here do for them on a daily basis,” said Woodbridge Mayor John McCormac. “I am a CPA and I understand numbers. But numbers never tell the whole story. The story here is about the impact the closure would have on more than 1,300 New Jersey families.”
State Sen. Joseph Vitale said state officials are watching this situation very closely.
“C&S is taking advantage of A&P’s vulnerability in Chapter 11 reorganization and could result in a full-fledged liquidation and the loss of thousands of jobs,” Vitale said. “We must take care of our own in New Jersey.”
Assemblyman Craig Coughlin said there is support across the state to keep the warehouse open.
“C&S should honor our request for a 90-day moratorium so we can all sit at the same table and work on a solution,” Coughlin said.
Teamster member Louis Quaglia, a 20-year employee of Pathmark and C&S, said, “I hope C&S realizes how many lives they are ruining if they shut down this warehouse. I have a wife and three children at home, and unemployment won’t pay the bills. How will I pay for our health insurance? I’m 47 years old and too young to retire. C&S and our elected leaders need to find a way to keep these jobs in New Jersey.”
Christopher D. Rafano, Director of the Middlesex County Board of Chosen Freeholders, said the warehouse closure would have a severe impact on the economies of Middlesex, Essex and Union counties.
“Most importantly, this closure will have a significant impact on the livelihood of the members of our community who live, work and raise their families in Middlesex County,” Rafano said.
“Companies doing business in New Jersey should employ workers in the state of New Jersey,” said Rutgers Labor Economist Bill Rodgers.
The report, “Economic Treason: Case Study of the C&S Wholesale Grocers and the Destruction of New Jersey Jobs,” was written by the Center for Labor & Community Research upon request by a special Commission of Inquiry. The Commission was formed by Mayor McCormac to evaluate the economic and social impact of C&S Wholesale Grocers’ decision to close its Woodbridge facilities and Grocery Haulers, Inc., and relocate its New Jersey-bound grocery distribution out of state.