“Improved efficiency at Tyson plants that supply the Emporia operation is the primary reason for the reduction in staffing,” said Gary Mickelson, spokesperson for Tyson Foods. “These source plants have become more flexible in their ability to produce certain meat products made at Emporia. This added flexibility has resulted in less production and fewer work hours for our Emporia team members.”
Eliminating jobs is expected to benefit the remaining Emporia employees, as hopes are the reduction will give them more hours to work each week, Mickelson said. Those being displaced may qualify for jobs in other areas of the plant where there are current openings, such as ground beef, material handling and maintenance, he added.
Despite the workforce reduction, the Emporia plant remains a viable operation, Mickelson said. “It has the ability to produce certain specialty cuts of beef and pork that other plants do not and gives us the flexibility to meet certain customer needs,” he added. “We intend to continue to produce specialty products at Emporia and are hopeful these product lines will flourish and enable us to add jobs in the future.”
In January 2008, Tyson closed its slaughter operation in Emporia, cutting about 1,400 jobs at the Emporia plant. At that time, the workforce was reduced from about 2,400 to 1,000.