The Impact of the Massive Layoffs of Pilgrim's Pride

NACOGDOCHES, TX (KTRE) - Pilgrim's Pride has taken drastic measures in an effort to reduce costs at the expense of it's employees. It will shut down three of it's facilities on January 24th, leaving about 450 of it's employees displaced.

For the Pilgrim's Pride employees that may become jobless, compensation is just one of their many worries. And even though there's still about 12 hundred people who will keep their jobs, Are there jobs for those layed off?

Acoording to Sandra Hopson of Workforce Solutions, "There's a few, but there's not quite a whole lot of them out there, but sometimes when you're actually looking for something, sometimes you may have to take another job that's not quite exactly what you wanted at this time until things improve".

The president of the Nacogdoches Economic Development Corporation, Bill King says, the Aspen Power Biomass Plant plans to provide about 200 to 300 construction jobs within the next few months. And a lot of jobs are depending on the approval of the federal prison, to be built in Nacogdoches.

"If we do, that's 300 jobs with an annual payroll of 11 million dollars" says King. That means employees of the proposed prison will make around 34 thousand dollars a year.

But *losing 450 jobs in Nacogdoches, is a hard hit, for not only Pilgrim's Pride's employees but also for the community.

King told KTRE, "It will have an impact, but not as dramatic as major plant closures might in other cities. That's due largely to the fact that our local economy is fairly diversified".

And even though Pilgrim's Pride promises to do it's best to take care of it's full-time, permanent hourly employees, even they are unsure of their future.

Vanessa Ross, an employee of Pilgrim's Pride says, "I've been there for a number of years and as of January 24th I really don't know what my future holds at pilgrim's pride, and I'm sure many of the employees feel the same way. So all we can do is wait, hope, and see.

According to Ray Atkinson, the spokesperson of Pilgrim's Pride Corp., their long term goal is to reestablish the prepared foods operations when market conditions are favorable.

In a written Statement, Atkinson told KTRE,

"These actions are absolutely necessary to help protect the greatest number of jobs and to ensure the future viability of our company.  We expect to emerge from this restructuring a stronger, more competitive company that is well positioned for growth and enhanced profitability".

He also says...

"All affected employees will continue to work and be paid until their positions are officially eliminated.  In order to assist any employees who have not been placed in positions by Jan. 24:

  • Salaried employees will be offered a severance package and outplacement assistance.
  • Employees may be given priority consideration for other Pilgrim's Pride jobs outside the Lufkin/Nacogdoches area for which they are qualified.
  • All qualified employees will be eligible for Federal COBRA benefits under which they can continue their health insurance for up to 18 months by paying its full cost.
  • We will work with the appropriate state and local government agencies to provide employees with outplacement assistance, job training and other services. "