Nation’s sugar refineries are working overtime to keep us candy-fed and happy

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Photo: Philip Rozenski (iStock)

I really, really, really enjoy candy. Sugar is a significant source of my diet. This does not make me unique, but it makes me especially appreciative of Domino Sugar employees today. And you should be, too.

As described by the Baltimore Sun, the Domino Sugar refinery plant in Baltimore’s Inner Harbor is implementing a new work schedule to meet the nation’s demand for sugar. Since bad weather around the country ruined our domestic sugar beet and sugar cane crops in 2019, the government has approved large shipments of those crops from Mexico, constituting an 80% increase in raw sugar imports. Now vast amounts of raw sugar are arriving into the country, all of which must be refined prior to use. There are a small number of refineries handling the imports, hence the new work schedule aimed at meeting production goals.

The Sun reports that Domino employees will now have to work every other weekend; in other words, 12 straight days of work for every 2 days off. This schedule is typical during “baking season” (September through December), but it might soon become a long-term reality. The good news is that Domino’s 485 workers are paid overtime, and to get the new 12-and-2 schedule off the ground, managers will first seek out volunteers who want to pick up the extra shifts.


It’s also worth mentioning that this is all a very tenuous solve for our sugar supply chain, especially if environmental factors continue to destroy our crops—and if, amidst that destruction, companies keep finding new ways to cram sugar into everything we consume. But for now, a tip of the hat to Domino workers, who operate refineries around the clock to bring us the sweets we crave. (I guess we could all do our part and shift to something a little saltier.)