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Posted on Tue. Jan. 26, 2010 - 03:00 am EDT

120 jobs coming to Edy’s

Will help turn out Nestlé Drumsticks

Edy’s Grand Ice Cream in Fort Wayne is in the process of adding 120 jobs, an official at the plant confirmed Monday.

Over the past three years, the company has been expanding its plant at 3426 N. Wells St. and consolidating operations from other plants.

Rick Benson, human resources manager, said the new jobs, which bring the Fort Wayne workforce to about 600, are part of the expansion and consolidation.

The company is in the process of hiring the new workers now. Benson said those interested should go to www.edysjobs.com.

The additions are good news for a Fort Wayne economy that saw an uptick in unemployment to 10.6 percent in December from 10 percent in November, according to figures released last week by the Indiana Department of Workforce Development.

Last year, Edy’s said it was in the final phases of a $29.5 million expansion at the Fort Wayne plant to accommodate a production line to make Nestlé Drumsticks. In 2008, Edy’s added 114 workers at the plant in a first-wave of hiring to come from the expansion.

The plant also makes all the Nestlé lil Drums in the United States, according to news reports.

Also last year, Edy’s closed a plant in Houston and shifted production to the Fort Wayne plant and to others in Laurel, Md.; Bakersfield, Calif.; and Tulare, Calif.

Benson referred questions about pay and other issues to a spokeswoman at Edy’s parent company, Dreyer’s Grand Ice Cream Inc., in Oakland, Calif.

Officials there didn’t respond to messages left Monday.

In 2007, when Edy’s announced its Fort Wayne expansion, economic development officials said the average production worker at the plant was making more than $40,000 a year.

The Fort Wayne City Council has granted Edy’s more than $1.5 million worth of tax breaks over 10 years for expanding its local operation.

Dreyer’s is a subsidiary of Nestlé S.A., based in Vevey, Switzerland.

mschladen@jg.net


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