Though workers at the plant tried to keep it open with protests
, the Stella D'Oro factory in The Bronx closed down yesterday
-- a day ahead of schedule. The workers went on strike last year, after Brynwood Partners, the private equity firm that had taken the plant over, kicked out the union; Brynwood locked them out and, when the plant was ordered to reinstate them by the National Labor Relations Board
, announced they would close it down
and move operations to Ohio instead. Workers showed a game face -- "We showed we cannot be humiliated by them," a 24-year veteran of the factory said. "We are not slaves." -- but it can't be pleasant to lose all hope of returning to one's job in a borough where unemployment is over 13 percent
. The Kingsbridge facility had been running almost 80 years prior to closure.