For the Brokenhearted, Ohio Manufacturer Brings Sweethearts Back in 2020

Cathalijne Adams

Cathalijne Adams Researcher, AAM

Before the notion of an exchange of rings to affirm love ever struck you, a Sweethearts candy heart imprinted with “Love U” or some other sweet nothing was likely one of the first declarations of affection that you encountered outside of your own family.

On Valentine’s Day, seemingly everywhere you look, you can find these saccharine heart-shaped missives. Indeed, conversation hearts are the most popular Valentine’s Day candy, according to online bulk-candy seller CandyStore.com, with over 19 million pounds sold each year – 80 percent of which are from the Sweethearts brand. The New England Confectionary Co., also known as Necco, reportedly produced eight million Sweethearts annually.

But brace yourself… Sadly, there will be no Sweethearts this Valentine’s Day.  

I know. I know. How else will you express your undying devotion to your beloved without such pithy phrases and pet names as “Text Me,” “Say Yes” or “Cutie Pie” stamped on a piece of candy to sweeten the burgeoning romance?!     

However, there’s no need for further heart palpitations, Sweethearts will make their triumphant return come 2020 thanks to Ohio-based Spangler Candy Company, averting what would otherwise be a permanent Valentine’s Day tragedy. Unfortunately, Spangler has yet to announce whether the candy will be made in the company’s Ohio factory.

“We wish we could have Sweethearts® out for the 2019 Valentine season, but it’s just not possible,” said Spangler Chairman and CEO Kirk Vashaw, a fourth-generation descendant of the company’s founder. “We are committed to making sure these brands meet consumer expectations when they re-enter the market. Doing it right takes time.”

You may already recognize Spangler’s name thanks to the company’s iconic Made in Ohio Dum Dum, a mainstay of any self-respecting trick-or-treating event.

The family-owned company founded in 1906 employs 550 workers in its Bryan, Ohio, factory and headquarters while also operating a smaller co-manufacturing facility in Juarez, Mexico, so there’s a strong chance that when Sweethearts return to the market they’ll still be Made in America.

America's most popular Valentine's Day candy, Sweethearts, was made in Revere, Mass., prior to the the closure of Necco in 2018. The production location of Sweethearts in 2020 is yet to be announced. | Photo courtesy of Jill Robidoux

Spangler’s commitment to manufacturing the classic candy represents a happy turn in what otherwise promised to be the end of America’s love affair with Sweethearts. In May of last year, the New England Confectionery Co., also known as Necco, which manufactured the candy, was sold in a bankruptcy auction. Then in July, Necco’s plant in Revere, Mass., shut down, and the company, along with its Sweethearts recipe, yet again passed hands, this time ending up in Spangler’s holdings.

With a history stretching back to 1847, Sweethearts is an enduring symbol of Valentine’s Day, so we’re pleased to see that it will return, but if Spangler wishes to remain true to Sweethearts’ legacy, it should also commit to making the candy in America.   

Learn more about Spangler and its Made in Ohio Dum Dums with the video below.

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Reposted from AAM

Posted In: Allied Approaches, From Alliance for American Manufacturing

Union Matters

Get to Know AFL-CIO's Affiliates: National Association of Letter Carriers

From the AFL-CIO

Next up in our series that takes a deeper look at each of our affiliates is the National Association of Letter Carriers.

Name of Union: National Association of Letter Carriers (NALC)

Mission: To unite fraternally all city letter carriers employed by the U.S. Postal Service for their mutual benefit; to obtain and secure rights as employees of the USPS and to strive at all times to promote the safety and the welfare of every member; to strive for the constant improvement of the Postal Service; and for other purposes. NALC is a single-craft union and is the sole collective-bargaining agent for city letter carriers.

Current Leadership of Union: Fredric V. Rolando serves as president of NALC, after being sworn in as the union's 18th president in 2009. Rolando began his career as a letter carrier in 1978 in South Miami before moving to Sarasota in 1984. He was elected president of Branch 2148 in 1988 and served in that role until 1999. In the ensuing years, he worked in various roles for NALC before winning his election as a national officer in 2002, when he was elected director of city delivery. In 2006, he won election as executive vice president. Rolando was re-elected as NALC president in 2010, 2014 and 2018.

Brian Renfroe serves as executive vice president, Lew Drass as vice president, Nicole Rhine as secretary-treasurer, Paul Barner as assistant secretary-treasurer, Christopher Jackson as director of city delivery, Manuel L. Peralta Jr. as director of safety and health, Dan Toth as director of retired members, Stephanie Stewart as director of the Health Benefit Plan and James W. “Jim” Yates as director of life insurance.

Number of Members: 291,000 active and retired letter carriers.

Members Work As: City letter carriers.

Industries Represented: The United States Postal Service.

History: In 1794, the first letter carriers were appointed by Congress as the implementation of the new U.S. Constitution was being put into effect. By the time of the Civil War, free delivery of city mail was established and letter carriers successfully concluded a campaign for the eight-hour workday in 1888. The next year, letter carriers came together in Milwaukee and the National Association of Letter Carriers was formed.

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There is Dignity in All Work

There is Dignity in All Work