Tyson Foods Closes Two Poultry Plants, Impacting Nearly 1,700 Employees
Tyson Foods (NYSE: TSN) has announced the closure of two poultry plants in Arkansas and Virginia, impacting nearly 1,700 employees. The closures of the facilities in Van Buren, Arkansas and Glen Allen, Virginia will take place on May 12th. This news comes as Tyson reported a drastic drop in sales and an inability to economically improve operations.
Tyson's CEO Donnie King highlighted the difficulties in their chicken business during an analyst call in February. The company noted that there was an absence of demand in the parts of the market they had expected, leading to higher costs and lower prices. Tyson's chicken operating income fell from $140 million to $69 million during the most recent quarter, as the company's profit margins dropped from historic highs during the pandemic.
In January, Tyson announced Wes Morris as the new head of its poultry business. Morris had been a long-time employee and consultant for Tyson's poultry business, and replaced David Bray who had stepped into the role in 2021. Tyson reported that year that its chicken volumes were low due to breeding issues.
Tyson is working with state and local agencies to provide resources and assistance to those who choose to remain in both Glen Allen and Van Buren. Tyson said it would also help employees find work at other Tyson facilities, as well as provide relocation assistance.
Mark Federici, President of UFCW 400, expressed his dismay at the news, saying “It has been our honor and privilege to represent the workers at this plant for decades, and we were appalled by today’s news and the terrible impact it will have on close to 700 of our union members.”
Chicken prices have also taken a hit as processors increased supply. Wall Street Journal reported that prices have fallen about 1% since November.
Despite the difficult decision to close the facilities, Tyson said it remains committed to its employees and is focused on efficiency in its operations. The company said it will continue to coordinate with state and local agencies to provide resources and assistance to its employees that do not relocate.
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1. “Tyson Foods closing two chicken plants affecting 1700 workers in Virginia, Arkansas” WLEN-FM, 15 Mar. 2023, https://www.wlen.com/2023/03/15/tyson-foods-closing-two-chicken-plants-affecting-1700-workers-in-virginia-arkansas
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