Kellogg's cuts bakery staff

Kellogg's acknowledged Tuesday that it laid off employees last week as part of a companywide initiative to streamline operations.

"We continually look to optimize our manufacturing network. We've undertaken a program called K-LEAN or Kellogg's Lean, Efficient, Agile Network which is helping Kellogg become more effective and efficient and ensure we have the right structure in place," said corporate spokeswoman Kris Charles. "As we simplify and standardize our processes at our Augusta bakery, some jobs were impacted."

Ms. Charles said employees affected by K-LEAN were notified Thursday, though she declined to say how many people were laid off.

"I can assure you that we're taking a fair and thoughtful approach and we are supporting impacted employees through transitions," she said.

"The terminations were not immediate for every impacted employee. Some were offered and accepted transition agreements and will stay on into January," Ms. Charles said.

According to published reports, another Kellogg's plant, in Cary, N.C., has also undergone layoffs through the K-LEAN initiative. The number of personnel affected was also not disclosed.

According to the Georgia Department of Labor, a mass layoff notice has not been filed with the state.

The layoffs in Augusta come on the heels of a September expansion in which equipment and jobs were relocated from a plant in Charlotte, N.C.

The 220 new positions were outsourced to an agency, Accurate Staffing, to manage the expanded product repacking center, Ms. Charles said, and are technically not Kellogg's employees.

The Augusta bakery on Marvin Griffin Road makes cookies and snack packs. Kellogg's is Richmond County's fourth-largest manufacturing employer, according to the Development Authority of Richmond County, with more than 500 employees prior to the layoffs.

As part of the $10 million expansion, the plant is now making new products for Kashi, Keebler, Mother's Cookies and the Girl Scouts.

Reach Tim Rausch at (706) 823-3352 or timothy.rausch@augustachronicle.com.

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