January 12, 2004

 

 

Tyson Shut Down Chicken Processing Plant in Pine Bluff

 

Tyson Foods Inc. shut down one of its two chicken processing plants in Pine Bluff, United States, last Thursday on January 8.

 

Operations are being transferred to the second Tyson plant in the city. About half of the closed plant's 300 workers are being offered jobs in the second facility.

 

"It's always a difficult decision because it does affect people and there's a history at that location," said Tyson spokesman Ed Nicholson.

 

Tyrone Chatman, assistant human resource manager at the plant that's remaining open, said consolidation allows the complex to bring over experienced staff and will help increase efficiency and attract more customers.

 

Tyson announced plans in August 2003 to close the 46-year-old Second Avenue plant and move its operations to the larger Industrial Park plant to "improve efficiencies and customer service." The Industrial Park complex now has 1,420 employees.

 

Part of the plant will shut down briefly while new equipment is installed and 157 former Second Avenue employees will come on board within the next two weeks.

 

Tyson acquired the Second Avenue plant, built in 1957, from Valmac Industries in 1984. It was a slaughter facility which had the capacity to process 860,000 birds a week.

 

The company has not decided what it will do with the closed plant.

 

In addition to processing chickens at the Industrial Park plant, the facility also creates products for the food service industry.

 

The consolidation should increase total production and is not expected to affect Tyson's relationship with 170 farmers who supply poultry for the Pine Bluff operation, a spokesman said.

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