EMPORIA, Kan. (AP) — Tyson Foods Inc. began laying off hundreds of workers at its Emporia plant Wednesday as it implemented its plan to cease beef slaughter operations at the facility.
The Springdale, Ark.-based company said it was ending its second-shift slaughter operations and would cease second shift processing operations on Friday. Together, the moves are expected to affect 800 workers.
Company officials said in a news release they hadn't decided when to cease first-shift slaughtering operations, which would affect an additional 700 workers.
Tyson announced last week it would cut 1,500 of the plant's 2,400 jobs as it responds to what it called an overcapacity at slaughterhouses and a shifting of production to western Kansas from the eastern part of the state, where the Emporia plant is located.
''We've decided to end some operations now so the team members affected can immediately start considering opportunities at other Tyson plants,'' said Jim Lochner, senior group vice president of Tyson Fresh Meats.
The company operates beef plants in Lexington, Neb.; Finney County, Kan.; Dakota City, Neb.; and Joslin, Ill. Tyson said it was paying qualified workers to move.
All workers will continue to receive pay and benefits for 60 days, the company said.
Once the layoffs are completed, the company said it will use the plant for cold storage, distribution and to process some ground beef and specialty beef cuts. It also said it may use the plant's livestock yards as a buying station for fed steer and heifers being sent to other Tyson plants.