SIOUX CITY, Iowa (AP) — John Morrell & Co. is adding 250 workers to its Sioux City plant as it increases pork production to fulfill a new trade deal in China.
The move reverses cuts earlier this year that idled about 485 workers — about a third of the plant's workforce. At the time, Morrell's parent company — Smithfield Foods of Virginia — said it was shutting down the plant's second shift because of unfavorable market conditions.
Smithfield announced a deal in August to sell 60 million pounds of pork to a major Chinese trading firm, prompting the need for more workers. This week, the Sioux City Morrell plant began processing an additional 3,200 hogs, or about half of the production of a typical shift, according to a Smithfield spokesman.
The company has started calling back laid off workers, based on their seniority at the plant, said Warren Baker, president of the United Food and Commercial Workers Union Local 1142.
Smithfield, the nation's largest hog producer and pork processor, sells beef and turkey and makes bacon, sausage, hot dogs and luncheon meats. John Morrell & Co. is based in Sioux Falls, S.D.