DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – A thousand jobs are leaving Dallas. Chicken processor Pilgrim’s Pride announced Friday it is consolidating processing plants and eliminating the one in South Dallas.
Pilgrim’s Pride has had a plant there for decades, the company itself was created 60 years ago. But by the end of September the Dallas operation will be history.
“They just said the plant was closing down because we’re paying so much for fuel,” according to employee Oliver Dison.
He said the company made the announcement this morning, telling employees the plant is closing partly because it’s so far away from the rest of the operation in which is mostly in Northeast Texas. It’s a 230-mile round trip, and the cost of fuel and feed makes the Dallas operation prohibitive. “The price of everything is going up,” Dison said, adding, “corn–and that’s what we need to keep our plant running. We need to get the chickens in but it’s 200-some miles, you know? Sometimes when the economy’s messed up it hurts companies, it hurts us too.”
Pilgrim’s Pride offered continued employment to workers willing to uproot and move to its other plants in Waco, Mount Pleasant, Lufkin, or Nacogdoches. Many employees say that’s a hard choice. “Everybody was kind of cool headed but you’ve got to be disappointed because the plant is closing down where your job is at. we’ve got to take care of our families, man,” said Dison.
Fellow employee Teddy Rodgers adds, “It kind of hurt my feelings but I know that we must go on. It hurt my feelings.” Rodgers says he’s going to stay in Dallas and look for other work.
The company says it will help those workers who lose their jobs to find new employment. It doesn’t think the change will be noticed by customers who buy Pilgrim’s Pride products.
Oliver Dison says he’ll follow the work to Waco. “I’m not worried about it because I’m keeping my job. The economy’s messed up, if I’ve got to drive 82-miles to keep a job that’s what I’m going to do.”