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Tyson Foods plant closures affect 880 jobs

By Michelle Perrett

- Last updated on GMT

The Jefferson facility produces sliced pepperoni and ham for pizza toppings
The Jefferson facility produces sliced pepperoni and ham for pizza toppings

Related tags: Tyson foods, Pork

Tyson Foods, the US food company, is to close two of its prepared food plants, affecting the jobs of 880 people. 

The company revealed today (November 20) that it planned to close its pepperoni plant in Jefferson, Wisconsin and a facility in Chicago, Illinois, which makes prepared foods for the hospitality industry.

It said the closures were part of an effort to improve the performance of its prepared foods business. The decision will involve Tyson Foods moving production to some of its other prepared foods facilities.

Cost of renovations

Changing product needs, the age of both facilities and prohibitive cost of renovations as well as the distance of the Chicago plant from its raw material supply base were cited as reasons for the closure by the company.

The two facilities are expected to cease operations during the second half of the company’s fiscal year 2016, which ends 1 October, 2016. The decision would affect about 480 people in Chicago and 400 at Jefferson, Tyson Foods said in a statement.

“We examined many options before we turned down this road,”​ said Donnie King, president of North American operations for Tyson Foods.

'Difficult Decision'

“This affects the lives of our team members and their families, making it a very difficult decision. But after long and careful consideration, we’ve determined we can better serve our customers by shifting production and equipment to more modern and efficient locations.”

Workers at the affected plans will be encouraged to apply for openings within the company. Tyson Foods intends to work with state officials to ensure employees are informed about unemployment benefits and any potential re-training opportunities.

Tyson Foods bought the Chicago plant in 1994. At the time, it was privately owned and made meals exclusively for airlines. Tempura chicken, meatballs, crepes, omelets, soups, sauces and Chicken Cordon Bleu are currently produced there.

The Jefferson facility, which produces sliced pepperoni and ham for pizza toppings, as well as sliced pepperoni and salami for deli and foodservice applications, was part of Tyson Foods’ acquisition of IBP, inc., in 2001.

Related topics: Meat

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