Tyson Foods closes 2 factories, impacting nearly 1,700 workers

SPRINGDALE, Ark. (KNWA / KFTA) – Tyson Foods has announced that the company plans to close two of its factories, which together employ nearly 1,700 people.

Tyson said its plants in Van Buren, Arkansas, and Glen Allen, Virginia, will close in May.

“After careful consideration, we have made the difficult decision to close our Van Buren, Arkansas plant, effective May 12, 2023, and shift demand to other Tyson Foods facilities,” Tyson said in its announcement regarding the Arkansas plant. “While the decision was not easy, it reflects our broader strategy to strengthen our poultry business by optimizing operations and utilizing the full capacity available at each plant.”

A statement released on the occasion of the Virginia plant’s closure suggested that its closure was due to “the inability to economically improve operations”.

Tyson said there are plans to work with employees affected by the closures to help them relocate to other Tyson facilities. The company also said it will coordinate with state and local agencies to provide resources and assistance to its employees who are not relocating.

Affected Tyson team members responded to the news on Tuesday. The two who spoke with Nexstar’s KNWA were shocked to hear the news. Now they’re trying to figure out what’s next.

Evelee Hamilton has worked at the Van Buren factory for two years. She said that many people accumulated vacations and spent a lot of time working at the factory. Now these people have to start over.

Hamilton will try to apply for jobs in the area but said leaving Van Buren was not an option. This is where she grew up and spent her whole life.

“What do you do? What do you do when you find out your financial stability is compromised?” Hamilton said.

Adam Boehler, another member of the Tyson factory team in Van Buren, said his family lived in the area and he would not be leaving. But he knows finding a job when hundreds of people have to do the same thing will be a challenge.

“It happens. It’s part of life. Do I wish something could be done about it? Yes,” Boehler said.

The president of a union representing workers at Glen Allen, meanwhile, criticized Tyson for not giving the group any warning.

“It has been an honor and a privilege for us to represent workers at this plant for decades, and we were appalled by today’s news and the terrible impact it will have on nearly 700 of our union members,” UFCW 400 president Mark Federici said in a statement obtained by Nexstar’s WRIC.

Federici also called out Tyson for closing the Glen Allen plant in Virginia while investing hundreds of millions in a new midstate plant in Pittsylvania County, the station reported.

The Van Buren Chamber of Commerce said more than 900 employees in the area would be affected by the closure; Local outlet KLRT reported that the Arkansas plant employed 969 people, specifically. The Glen Allen plant, meanwhile, employed 692 people, WRIC reported.

Jakob Cordes of WRIC contributed to this report.


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