Hundreds Losing Jobs in Alberto-Culver Closure

Consumer products maker Unilever PLC is planning to close the Alberto-Culver plant outside Chicago.

Unilever spokeswoman said the entire office staff at the plant in Melrose Park -- about 600 employees -- will be cut or transferred.

Some families will be especially hit hard.

Between the two of them, Kevin and Irma Cox have 71 years of service at the Melrose Park plant.

"I met my wife here, and she's been here for 30 years," said Kevin Cox. "That's two incomes that's going to be completely gone."

Of the 600 employees working at the facility, about 200 are union. A representative said they were told of the pending closures earlier this summer. Still, they weren't prepared.

"A lot of the employees up until today still are in denial. They don't believe it's going to happen. Their whole career has been here," said Steven Kramer with United Steelworkers Local 9777.

The company, which makes Nexxus shampoos and conditioners, as well as St. Ives lotions and body wash, said in a statement the closure was about efficiencies.

"The decision to close the plant was taken as a result of a review of the company's manufacturing network in order to achieve cost efficiencies," said spokesman Dean Mastrojohn.

Unilever, based in Amsterdam, acquired Alberto Culver Co. last year for $3.7 billion.

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