Del Monte Workers Shocked By Sudden Closure

Ben Molina
Ben Molina

By Beth Hillyer

(KHNL) - Friday was an emotional day at Del Monte Plantation. Employees found it hard to believe they are out of work.

For many Del Monte pine workers this will be last time they will ever punch in.

"This meeting comes up all of a sudden," said Ben Molina, a worker at Del Monte. I was working and they said meeting at the gym. There was no notice."

Employees thought they would work the fields for two more years.

"It was supposed to be 2008," said Molina. "What they said was no production of pineapple."

For Ben Molina it's been the only life that he's ever known.

"21 years. I've worked for plantation," he said.

Workers also fear losing their plantation home.

"If I can stay here, fine I'll stay," Molina said. "I grew up here anyway."

Molina grew up next to Richard Simbre.

"People wasn't expecting this," Simbre told us. "They told us they'll shut down the company. We work so long. We expect to stay to 2008."

Simbre has been at del monte for 30 years.

"This is my lifestyle. Me and Ben were raised here. My dad grew up here. This was my future," Simbre said.

Many workers say they will look for jobs.

Some drive trucks, others work in construction.

And some say they will take advantage of job fairs that Del Monte will offer.