Tyson Foods to close Jefferson plant, lay off 400 people

Freeman Staff

Nov. 19, 2015

SPRINGDALE, ARK. — Tyson Foods, Inc. announced Thursday that it will close plants in Chicago and Jefferson as a way to improve overall performance of the prepared foods business.

The work performed by the two closing plants will be moved to other Tyson Foods facilities with available production capacity, according to the announcement.

Tyson Foods reported that about 880 people will be laid off: 480 in Chicago and 400 in Jefferson. The Jefferson plant makes pepperoni and the Chicago location makes prepared foods for the hospitality industry.

Both facilities are expected to cease operations during the second half of the company’s fiscal year 2016, which ends Oct. 1, 2016.

“We examined many options before we turned down this road,” said Donnie King, president of North American operations for Tyson Foods, in a statement. “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.”

Tyson Foods said it is closing the facilities for a variety of reasons, 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.