Tyson Foods plans to close Santa Teresa plant, 200 employees affected

Tyson Foods plans to close Santa Teresa plant, 200 employees affected
MGN Online

POSTED: Wednesday, July 30, 2014 - 2:29pm

UPDATED: Wednesday, July 30, 2014 - 5:42pm

Tyson Foods announced the closure of three facilities including the plant in Santa Teresa, NM on Wednesday. Tyson Foods said that the decision came about as part of its ongoing efforts to improve the performance of its prepared foods business.

The three facilities that will be closing, as part of Tyson Foods decision are the company's Buffalo, NY, Santa Teresa and the Cherokee, Iowa plant. The Cherokee plant will close effective September 27, while the Santa Teresa and Buffalo plants are expected to cease operations in the first half of 2015.

The closures will ultimately affect 950 people, including 450 at Cherokee, 300 at Buffalo and 200 at Santa Teresa.

"This is a very difficult decision since it affects the lives of our team members and their families," said Donnie King, president, prepared foods, customer and consumer solutions for Tyson Foods. "However, these plants have been struggling financially. After long and careful consideration, we've concluded it no longer makes business sense to keep them open."

The decision to single out the specific plants are based on the company's changing needs. The decision to close the Cherokee plant was made, in part, due to the plant's age including prohibitive cost of its renovation and the distance of the Buffalo and Santa Teresa plants from their raw material supply base in the Midwest.

Affected workers will be encouraged to apply for openings within the company and also will be invited to job fairs Tyson Foods plans to host. In addition, the company intends to work with state officials to ensure the employees are informed about unemployment benefits and any potential re-training opportunities.

All three plants have been part of Tyson Foods since 2001, when the company acquired IBP, Inc. The Cherokee plant, which Tyson Foods leases, has been producing processed meats since 1965. It currently makes deli meats, hams, Canadian bacon and hot dogs.

The Buffalo facility produces hot dogs, sausage and hams. It first opened in 1969 and operated as Russer Foods until 1999, when it was acquired by IBP.

Santa Teresa makes a variety of cooked products including dinner meats, diced ham and roast beef. The facility was built by John's Brothers and opened in the spring of 1982. It became part of IBP in 1994.

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