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Former Necco Employees Look For Jobs One Month After Candy Factory Closes

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Revere Mayor Brian Arrigo talks with former Necco employees at a job fair near the shuttered candy factory. (Quincy Walters)
Revere Mayor Brian Arrigo talks with former Necco employees at a job fair near the shuttered candy factory. (Quincy Walters)

Hundreds of former Necco employees went to the Rumney Marsh Academy in Revere for a job fair on Wednesday in hopes of finding new work.

It's been nearly a month since they picked up their final paychecks at the shuttered factory.

There were representatives at the fair looking to hire in a variety of industries, from health care to restaurants.

"Airport, post office, [Transportation Security Administration,]" Linda Evans said, rattling off all the potential employers she spoke to at the job fair. "I'm still looking." Evans, who worked for Necco for over 30 years, said she's optimistic she'll get a job lead soon.

Employers set up cafeteria tables where job seekers like Maria Rosa could fill out applications and interview forms. Rosa spent 38 years working for Necco. But on Wednesday, she went to a table for Bertucci's Italian Restaurant.

"I cleaned the machines, I sometimes put out candy," she said of her time with the candy company.

Rosa, 62, is told that she could be a salad cook for $13 to 14 per hour. She said she's open to new jobs, but retirement isn't out of the question either.

"I want to try," Rosa said. "If I don't find a job, this is it. I retire."

Necco was the oldest continuously operating candy factory in the country — until the company that purchased the manufacturer in May abruptly shut it down last month.

Wednesday's job fair was held just down the street from the factory, where many of the employees spent most of their working lives.

Revere Mayor Brian Arrigo said employers are looking for committed workers like Rosa.

"[Employers] have been impressed with the fact that there are people with that kind of loyalty to company and loyalty to their work that they would stick around for that long," Arrigo said.

But some workers aren't so optimistic, like Jose Pinto, who started at Necco in 1994. He's looking for a day job, but said most companies hiring aren't offering that.

"Most are second shift," Pinto said. "Not flexible hours."

He said if he didn't get a job with workable hours Wednesday, he'd look into a new career, "like computers."

In the meantime, a lawsuit is in the works against Necco.

Juan Figueroa is the Necco representative for the Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers Local 348 union. He said workers are suing for unpaid vacation time, and because they weren't given sufficient notice of factory closure.

"If we win the lawsuit, at least I'm hoping every member gets paid the 60 days that we feel we deserved to be notified by the company," he said.

Until then, Figueroa is looking for work to help support his wife and four kids.

This segment aired on August 22, 2018.

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Quincy Walters Producer, WBUR Podcasts
Quincy Walters was a producer for WBUR Podcasts.

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