Arkansas-based Tyson announced Thursday it will close plants in Jefferson, WI and Chicago in a decision that will affect 880 employees. Both plants are expected to close operations during the second half of Tyson’s fiscal year 2016 (ending Oct. 1, 2016).
“We examined many options before we turned down this road,” says Donnie King, president of North American operations for Tyson Foods. “This affects the lives of our team members and their families, making it a very difficult decision. But after long and careful consideration, we’ve determined we can better serve our customers by shifting production and equipment to more modern and efficient locations.”
According to Tyson, the closures are due to a combination of factors including changing product needs, the age of both facilities and prohibitive cost of renovations, as well as the distance of the Chicago plant from its raw material supply base.
Tyson Foods bought the Chicago plant in 1994. At the time, it was privately owned and made meals exclusively for airlines. The facility currently produces tempura chicken, meatballs, crepes, omelets, soups, sauces and Chicken Cordon Bleu. The Jefferson facility, which produces sliced pepperoni and ham for pizza toppings, as well as sliced pepperoni and salami for deli and foodservice applications, was part of Tyson Foods’ acquisition of IBP, Inc., in 2001.