Archive for Thursday, February 7, 2008

Tyson closing will cost more jobs

February 7, 2008

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— Tyson Foods Inc. said Wednesday it will have to lay off an additional 200 to 300 workers at its Emporia beef plant as it completes its plan to restructure the plant's operations.

The company said last month it was cutting 1,500 of the plant's 2,400 positions as it discontinued beef slaughtering and some processing operations at the plant. The company blamed an overcapacity at slaughterhouses and a shifting of beef production to western Kansas from eastern Kansas, where the plant is located.

The plant's slaughtering operations are scheduled to end Wednesday, and processing would cease on Feb. 15.

Company officials said the plant will still be used for cold storage, shipping, specialty beef processing and some beef grounding. Those operations will require only 600 to 700 workers, not the 900 originally thought.

Jim Lochner, senior group vice president of Tyson Fresh Meats, said the company has had time to work with the plant's management "to do a more extensive study of future production options and now have a better estimate of our staffing needs."

The new plant operations are scheduled to begin Feb. 20. Plant managers plan to fill many of the 600 to 700 remaining positions with current workers, the company said.

The company said it has offered jobs at other Tyson beef plants to almost all the laid-off workers and more than 500 have expressed an interest in moving to those plants. The company also is offering incentives for workers to move to Tyson's poultry plants.

All workers will continue to receive pay and benefits for 60 days, the company said.

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