Deadline passes for Heinz workers interested in taking buyout

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The deadline passed Monday for 775 H.J. Heinz Co. employees in the Pittsburgh area to accept a voluntary buyout offer from the company or commit to going forward under the new corporate culture being established by the food company's new owners.

A company spokesman said today that Heinz would not be releasing the number of those who take the deal, and reiterated that Heinz is not cutting its staffing in the region as a result of the buyouts.

“We have a robust talent pipeline in place to back-fill any vacancies that are created. We look forward to the future, and to achieving our vision with the industry’s best team,” said Michael Mullen, senior vice president of corporate and government affairs.

Heinz, which makes ketchup, Smart Ones and Ore-Ida products among other things, was founded in Sharpsburg in the 19th century. It was sold for more than $28 billion last year to a partnership of Berkshire Hathaway and 3G Capital.

The new management has been working through the global operation to cut costs and improve efficiency. Changes have included open office arrangements and zero-based budgeting.

In recognition that the changes have been challenging for some, two weeks ago the company made its offer to all regional employees who had been with Heinz for at least a year, which meant they had started before the June 2013 sale.

Workers were offered buyout deals that started at six months of severance pay and increased depending on years of service, the company said. They were given until Monday to decide.

Teresa F. Lindeman: or 412-263-2018.

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