FARMERVILLE, LA. – Foster Farms stated that on Sept. 11 the company would increase its entry-level wage to $17.30 per hour at its Farmerville, La., poultry processing plant from the current start rate of $12.70 per hour.

The Livingston, Calif.-based poultry company added that employees also qualify for a comprehensive health care plan and for disability and life insurance coverage. 

“We want to hire and retain the best people in Union Parish and the surrounding regions,” said David Alverson, complex manger at the Foster Farms Farmerville facility. “That means ensuring that wage and benefits are competitive in our industry and our community, particularly at a time when we are all being impacted by high inflation.” 

Foster Farms also said it proposed improving other worker benefits related to vacation and holidays, but the United Food and Commercial Workers Local 455 declined to re-open the existing collective bargaining agreement to discuss those proposals.

The Foster Farms Farmerville complex employs 1,000 workers and is currently hiring to fill a bit more than 600 new positions on various shifts.

In June, the company was purchased by private equity firm Atlas Holdings and named Donnie Smith as chairman of the board and chief executive officer.

During July, Foster Farms raised the entry level wages to $20 per hour at its Livingston complex. The company’s Kelso, Wash., poultry plant also raised its entry level wages to $19 per hour in August.