Maui Land & Pineapple Cuts 274 Jobs
Company cites weak economy and rising fuel costs for cutting more than a quarter of its workforce.
By Zalina Alvi
Just 122 days after Molokai Ranch laid off 120 employees on the Friendly Isle, Maui Land & Pineapple (ML&P) Co. has announced its plans to lay off 274 employees.
The Kahului-based company is one of Maui's largest private employers, but said a weak economy and rising fuel costs would be forcing them to cut more than a quarter of their 1,045 employees. The company is expected to save $11 million annually as a result of the “reorganization plan.”
Most of the damage will be done in the pineapple division, with the loss of 204 jobs. The rest will come from the company’s Kapalua Resort, with 46 positions, and another 24 employees from the corporate and community development units will be laid off.
ML&P laid off 120 workers last June from their canning operations.
In early April, just days after the Ranch closed its doors, ML&P one of the few off-island companies offering employment to laid-off workers on Molokai.
Efforts to help the 274 employees will include a “Rapid Response Team” from the state Department of Labor and Industrial Relations, severance packages, and other programs from ML&P. The company will expend about $3 million to assist former employees.
In a statement released by the county, Mayor Charmaine Tavares called the layoffs “an unfortunate situation,” and offered help in the form of working with State Workforce Development services and the non-profit community to offer support to those impacted.
Senator Dan Inouye expressed similar sentiments in a July 25 press release, where he announced that he would be “working with the company, the ILWU (International Longshore and Warehouse Union), and the agriculture leadership to keep at least some pineapple cultivation on Maui, possibly under a different business model.”
“Pineapples are a part of Maui’s legacy,” he added.
The senator will also be alerting the U.S. Department of Labor of the “impending dislocated worker emergency grant needs,” and vowed to carry the state’s application forward as soon as it is completed.
A meeting for the workers will be held at 10 a.m. on July 29 at the Kapalua Training Center.