STAR-BULLETIN / 1990
Faced with a shortage of local workers in 1990, Maui Land and Pineapple Co. participated in a county-sponsored test program to recruit employees from job-poor Western states. About 50 people were recruited. CLICK FOR LARGE
Kahului cannery to close
The historic decision ends a chapter, plus 120 jobs, in pineapple packing on Maui
» CEO says move is needed to keep firm afloat.
» Maui government and union officials are saddened.
As of June 30 there will be no more canned pineapple coming out of the state of Hawaii.
Maui Land & Pineapple Co. Inc. announced yesterday it will close its Kahului cannery, eliminating 120 jobs and focusing instead on its more lucrative fresh-pineapple operations.
» Founded: 1929
» Peak year: 1992, with 220,000 tons produced
» Final year: 2007, with an estimated 50,000 tons produced
Source: Maui Land & Pineapple
The closure of the Kahului cannery, which MLP purchased in 1934, marks the end of an era for canned pineapple in Maui's history.
David C. Cole, chairman, president and CEO of MLP, said the consolidation was necessary for the pineapple operation to stay in business. Cole said the company was losing money on every can of pineapple it produced.
But union officials are unhappy with what they say is a continuing trend of layoffs by the firm, and they worry about the future.
"They say they're going to keep fresh fruits, but we have our doubts," said William Kennison, Maui division chief for the ILWU.
Maui government officials, while saddened by the lost jobs, said they hope the county's low unemployment rate will ease the transition for workers and that MLP's move will help it keep agriculture alive there.