Job losses at closing Tyson plants more than 2,500

FILE - A Tyson Foods, Inc., truck is parked at a food warehouse on Oct. 28, 2009, in Little Rock. (AP Photo/Danny Johnston, File)
FILE - A Tyson Foods, Inc., truck is parked at a food warehouse on Oct. 28, 2009, in Little Rock. (AP Photo/Danny Johnston, File)

Three of the four plants Tyson Foods Inc. plans to close in October — one in Arkansas and two in Missouri — employ more than 2,500 workers between them, according to recent notices sent to the states by the meat giant.

As part of a third quarter earnings call Monday, Springdale-based Tyson Foods said it will close four plants in the United States in an effort to cut costs as the meat giant continues to struggle with profitability. The plants are located in North Little Rock, Corydon, Ind., and in Noel and Dexter, Missouri.

According to letters sent to Arkansas’ Division of Workforce Services and the Missouri Department of Higher Education and Workforce Development dated Aug. 7 — as required under the Worker Adjustment and Retraining Act — Tyson Foods gave notice it was closing the three plants as part of the company’s plan to operate more efficiently.

Tyson Foods said it plans on closing its North Little Rock plant on or around Oct. 7 with 339 workers permanently losing their jobs. The company celebrated 50 years of production at the plant in 2018. The 76,000-square-foot facility in the Rose City area of North Little Rock began operation in April 1968 as part of Prospect Farms Inc., specializing in food service products. Tyson Foods acquired Prospect Farms in 1969.

“It is unfortunate Tyson is closing their plant in North Little Rock after operating over 50 years,” North Little Rock Mayor Terry Hartwick said in an emailed statement. “I believe the infrastructure we have built with Amazon, Dollar General, Safe Foods, Federal Metals and others will provide a vast opportunity of jobs for the displaced employees. We have created over 3,000 new jobs in the last three years. We will continue to work with the North Little Rock Chamber of Commerce and new businesses to secure positions for the displaced workers.”

Tyson Foods said it plans to cease production at its Noel, Mo., plant in the state’s southwest corner, close to the Arkansas border, around Oct. 20. The move will put 1,533 workers associated with the plant, including some union employees, out of work. The move includes 20 workers at an Oklahoma feed mill that is part of the Noel complex. In its letter, the company noted some workers may be needed past Oct. 20 as part of the plant’s “winding down” process.

Currently, plans are to cease production at the Dexter plant in south central Missouri on Oct. 13. The plant shutting down will leave 683 workers without jobs, including workers at a feed mill as well as a hatchery and grow out operation associated with the Dexter operation.

Any letters sent by Tyson to Indiana regarding the plant closure there were not available Wednesday.

“Tyson Foods regrets that its team members must be displaced yet hopes to accomplish these closings with the least possible disruption to team members, their families and the community,” Tyson wrote in all three notice letters.

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