February 17, 2009

Smithfield to cut at least 1,500 jobs

U.S. meat packer Smithfield Foods said Tuesday it would close six meat packing plants and cut between 1,500 and 2,000 positions.

Wherever possible, the company said, it would offer transfers to an undetermined number of employees, as it moves to improve operating efficiencies and increase utilization.

The company said it would consolidate several business units and close plants in Smithfield, Va., Plant City, Fla., Elon, N.C., Great Bend, Kan., New Riegel, Ohio, and Hastings, Neb.

The Virginia plant closing will affect 1,375 workers, most of whom would be offered transfers to either a second facility remaining open in Smithfield, Va., or plants in North Carolina. In Florida, 760 workers would be affected with a number of salaried employees offered transfers, the company said.

In Kansas, 275 employees would be affected. An additional 230 employees in Ohio, 160 in North Carolina and 370 in Nebraska would lose jobs, the company said.