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June 28, 2011

Barber Foods to lay off 82

Barber Foods in Portland is laying off 82 employees, though President David Barber said the cuts are not related to its recent acquisition by an Ohio-based food company.

The company, which employs 650, announced the layoffs Monday as the company consolidates two production lines, according to reports from the Portland Press Herald and The Forecaster. The layoffs will happen by the end of August, and affected workers will receive 60 days' notice and one week of severance pay for each year with the company. Earlier this month, Cincinnati-based AdvancePierre Foods bought Barber Foods for an undisclosed price, and at the time Barber said the move would result in layoffs as AdvancePierre consolidated and modernized operations. However, he told The Forecaster yesterday that the cuts are unrelated to the recent acquisition and are part of Barber Foods' efficiency plan, in the works for a year, to reduce costs and stay competitive.

Judith Pelletier, a coordinator for the Maine Department of Labor's Rapid Response program, told The Forecaster the department will meet with Barber employees this week to discuss unemployment benefits and other assistance. Barber Foods makes primarily prepared chicken products sold in supermarkets and institutions.

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