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Keurig: We're Committed To Vermont Operations Despite Cuts

Wilson Ring
Keurig is eliminating nine percent of its Vermont jobs, but says it's committed to its operations in the state.

Keurig Green Mountain says it remains committed to its Vermont operations, despite cutting 200 jobs at its Waterbury facility.

The total number of jobs eliminated at Keurig operationsthroughout North America was 330, or five percent of its workforce. In Vermont the figure was closer to nine percent of the company's overall workforce, so the state took a disproportionate hit.   

Suzanne DuLong, vice president of corporate communications with Keurig, says the cuts in Vermont are directly tied to sluggish demand for the company's hot beverage brewing systems. 

In a quarterly earnings report last week, the company laid out plans to reinvigorate sales of the systems, by introducing lower-priced models.

If that effort is successful it won't necessarily mean jobs will return to Waterbury.  

"I won't speculate today, given what we've just been through. Our CEO Brian Kelley has articulated clearly that we are not satisfied with our results for the quarter and we're working hard to execute a strategy in the market place that involves reclaiming some of the growth the hot system had previously," DuLong said.

"As we grow that hot system, all of our manufacturing facilities, all of our technology facilities will benefit."

DuLong says there always some movement of jobs between Keurig's facilities in North America, but she says there are no plans to transfer a significant number of jobs out of Vermont.  

A recently named chief financial officer will be based in Massachusetts, unlike his predecessor who worked in Vermont, but DuLong says that does not signal a movement of other jobs out of state, including those working under the CFO.

"We are committed to our operations in Vermont and we plan to continue being one of the largest corporate employers," DuLong said.

"We are committed to our operations in Vermont and we plan to continue being one of the largest corporate employers." - Suzanne DuLong, Keurig vice president

DuLong says the company will maintain its commitment to philanthropic work like an $11 million pledge to non-profit organizations working on water security.  She says Keurig's pledge to make all K-cups recyclable remains in place. 

"The recyclability of all of our pods is an issue we take very seriously. We are committed to our target of having 100 percent of our pods recyclable by 2020," DuLong said.

Keurig is also poised to introduce a cold beverage system later this year. DuLong says an Essex manufacturing facility has been adding jobs in conjunction with the roll-out of the new system.

Steve has been with VPR since 1994, first serving as host of VPR’s public affairs program and then as a reporter, based in Central Vermont. Many VPR listeners recognize Steve for his special reports from Iran, providing a glimpse of this country that is usually hidden from the rest of the world. Prior to working with VPR, Steve served as program director for WNCS for 17 years, and also worked as news director for WCVR in Randolph. A graduate of Northern Arizona University, Steve also worked for stations in Phoenix and Tucson before moving to Vermont in 1972. Steve has been honored multiple times with national and regional Edward R. Murrow Awards for his VPR reporting, including a 2011 win for best documentary for his report, Afghanistan's Other War.
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