Tyson Foods to Shut 2 US Chicken Plants With Nearly 1,700 Workers

By Reuters
March 14, 2023Business News
Tyson Foods to Shut 2 US Chicken Plants With Nearly 1,700 Workers
Tyson Chicken Nuggets, owned by Tyson Foods, for sale in Queens, N.Y., on Nov. 16, 2021. (Andrew Kelly/Reuters)

CHICAGO—Tyson Foods Inc. will close two U.S. chicken plants with almost 1,700 employees on May 12, the company said on Tuesday.

The closures show that the biggest U.S. meat company by sales is still trying to figure out how to improve its chicken segment that has struggled for years.

Tyson Foods will shut a plant in Glen Allen, Virginia, with 692 employees, and a plant in Van Buren, Arkansas, with 969 employees, according to a statement.

“The current scale and inability to economically improve operations has led to the difficult decision to close the facilities,” the company said.

Arkansas-based Tyson wrongly predicted last year that it would see strong demand for chicken at supermarkets in November and December, Chief Executive Donnie King said on a quarterly earnings call last month. In January, the company replaced the president of its poultry business.

The company said in its statement that it will shift chicken demand to other facilities from the plants that it is closing as part of a strategy to utilize the full available capacity at each facility.

The United Food and Commercial Workers union, which represents employees at Tyson’s plant in Virginia, slammed the decision to close the facility.

“These men and women risked their lives and the safety of their families to keep this plant operational during the pandemic, and this is the thanks they get?” the union said in a statement.

Shares of the stock rose 1 percent on the news.

Tyson’s sales missed analyst estimates for the quarter ending December 31. The company at the time said the current quarter would be weaker than the end of 2022.

By Tom Polansek

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