Officials in Oelwein and Independence are looking at all their options after learning Friday that Tyson plans to shut down its meat processing plants in their cities. The plants will close March 17th as part of a move to expand the bacon production line at Tyson’s plan in Cherokee — cutting about 90 jobs in Oelwein and 300 in Independence.
Oelwein Mayor Larry Murphy says they took action as soon as they heard the news.
Murphy says they got in touch with the Governor’s office and Iowa Workforce Development to try and get the state’s rapid response team in to help the workers at Tyson.
Murphy says it’s a blow to the area economy. He says they can’t pretend that it’s not a major impact, but he says that’s the world we live in. Murphy says that’s why the economic development officials have been working so hard to bring in new jobs.
Tyson plans to sell off the plants in Oelwein and Independence, but Murphy says city officials had no advanced information to try and look for a buyer of the plants.
Murphy says they didn’t even hear about the closings until they were called by reporters. He says Tyson didn’t file its federal 60 notice of closure until mid-morning Friday, so he says local officials had little time to react before the announcement. Murphy says the local management of the plant has been great to work with, but he says the corporate management gave them no notice prior to the closing.
Murphy says the city of Oelwein will meet the challenge working with state officials to find jobs for the people who’ll be left out of work. Tyson says it’ll save 15 to 20 million dollars by closing the two plants.