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Tyson Finalizes Plans for Restructured Operations at Emporia ; Value-added beef operations to begin February 20


Emporia, Kansas.– Officials at Tyson Fresh Meats, Inc. have finalized plans for restructured operations at the company’s Emporia, Kansas, beef plant and today released a transition schedule.

The final shift of beef slaughter operations at Emporia will be February 13, while the remaining processing shift will end February 15. Meanwhile, the start of new, value-added beef production at the plant will begin February 20. The restructured operations, which will employ between 600 and 700 people, will involve cold storage and shipping, specialty beef processing and ground beef processing.

Last month Tyson announced plans to modify beef operations at Emporia, by discontinuing beef slaughter and some processing operations. The company initially reported the changes would result in the elimination of about 1,500 of the plant’s 2,400 jobs. However, after additional analysis, company officials have determined the restructuring will involve the elimination of an additional 200 to 300 positions.

“When senior management made the initial decision to discontinue slaughter operations, we believed it was important to promptly notify our Team Members and make public disclosure,” said Jim Lochner, senior group vice president of Tyson Fresh Meats. “Our first announcement was based on what we knew at the time of the initial decision. Since the announcement, we’ve been able, with the assistance of the Emporia management team, to do a more extensive study of future production options and now have a better estimate of our staffing needs.”

Workers with certain production skills are being selected to fill many of the 600 to 700 jobs that will be part of the restructured operation. The process of notifying these workers, who will come from the plant’s previous first and second shift operations, begins immediately and should be completed within a week.

Additional processing and cold storage workers at the Emporia plant were given a layoff notice today, even though some of them will ultimately remain on staff as part of restructured operations at Emporia.

“We realize this is a difficult process for everyone involved,” Lochner said. “That’s why we’ve worked as quickly as possible to determine specifically what type of operation will remain at Emporia and who we will need to run it successfully.”

Virtually all of the Emporia workers who have been displaced are being given the opportunity to work at one of the company’s other facilities. So far, more than 500 have indicated an interest in transferring to other Tyson beef plants. This week, affected workers are also being offered incentives to transfer to some of the company’s poultry plants.

Workers displaced by the cutbacks will continue to be paid and receive benefits for 60 days, in accordance with federal law. Even though many of them will not be working at the Emporia plant during this 60 day period, they will continue to be paid during this period and now have time to explore other employment opportunities, including those available at Tyson.

The company has no current plans to resume beef slaughter operations at Emporia.


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