Stella D'oro, a sweets brand known to all New Yorkers and a rare food product actually made in New York, will close its factory in the Bronx in October. The baked goods will continue to be made, but elsewhere, announced Brynwood Partners, the private equity company based in Greenwich, CT, which bought the company in 2006.
Last week, a federal judge ordered Stella D’oro to reinstate 134 workers after a protracted 10-month strike. This week, the company invited the workers back. It also announced that it would close the factory in October.
The decision to close Stella D’oro’s only factory, which is based in the Kingsbridge section of the Bronx, was made by Brynwood Partners, the private equity company based in Greenwich, Conn., which bought the company in 2006. The closing appears to be the result of a labor dispute that has festered over the past couple years. Writes City Room:
Last week, a federal judge ordered Stella D’oro to reinstate 134 workers after a protracted 10-month strike... The workers had gone on strike on strike last Aug. 14, two weeks after their contract had expired. The owners maintained that the hourly wages of $18 to $22 an hour and nine weeks of paid leave made the factory unprofitable. It wanted significant reductions in wages.
Last week, an administrative law judge with the National Labor Relations Board in Washington found that the company had improperly refused to bargain with the union by declining to provide the union with a copy of its 2007 audited financial statement.
Stella D’oro was founded in New York in 1932 by an Italian immigrant, Angela Kresevich, and her husband, Joseph, who came from Trieste, Italy. The company was sold in 1992 to Nabisco and then to Kraft, before it was bought by Brynwood Partners. Stella D'Oro's bakery is on West 237th Street at the north end of Kingsbridge, Bronx. Stella D'Oro always has a big following among Jews, because some of their desserts were made with no milk or butter, making them "Pareve" and acceptable at both meat and dairy meals. In fact, when Kraft took over, they stupidly removed the Pareve designation from Stella D'Oro's baked products, and then saw sales drop. They put the insignias back.
The factory, which used to have a restaurant next door, once employed 575 people in New York. No more.