Tropicana to cut local jobs

BRADENTON — Tropicana says it plans to cut its workforce at the Bradenton plant.

According to spokeswoman Karen May, the plant will reduce 50 to 60 hourly positions in Bradenton, most by the end of March.

“We hope to accomplish these planned reductions through attrition and voluntary separation packages which were negotiated with the union,” May stated in an e-mail to the Bradenton Herald.

Tropicana is the third-largest employer in Manatee County, with an estimated 1,600 employees, according to the Manatee Economic Development Council.

Nancy Engel, executive director of the Manatee Economic Development Council, said the slumping economy is forcing all manufacturing companies to realign their production.

“Any time you lose production jobs, especially in an economy like this, it’s bad news,” Engel said. “But certainly it could have been a lot worse. They’re still one of our larger employers. All companies across the board are doing what they can to remain competitive.”