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Pilgrim's Pride announces layoffs

By Staff
Jonathan Willis
Pilgrim's Pride announced Tuesday that 335 salaried and non-exempt positions will be eliminated this month.
The cuts will be stretched across 35 plants nationwide, company officials said.
Local officials referred calls Tuesday afternoon to the plant's Texas headquarters.
Ray Atkinson, director of corporate communications, did not specify how many of the cuts would take place in the Russellville facility, but said the average layoff was less than 10 per facility.
Some sources said the number laid off at the Russellville plant was nine.
Pilgrim's Pride purchased the Russellville plant, which is the county's largest employer and one of the nation's most advanced processing plants, in December 2006 when the company acquired Gold Kist Poultry, Inc. for $21 a share.
Since then, Pilgrim's Pride has struggled financially. The company closed seven plants earlier this year citing high feed costs as a reason for their struggles.
"Our company and our industry are facing the toughest operating environment in decades, and it is absolutely critical for Pilgrim's Pride to continue to do everything we can to operate our business as efficiently as possible," the company said in a release.
"The dynamics of the chicken industry have changed dramatically over the past year, and we must continue to evaluate our organization to match the realities of the marketplace. Decisions like this are always very difficult because they affect the lives of employees who have contributed so much to our company. We sincerely regret that such a decision was necessary, but we are committed to helping these employees as much as we can during this period."
Atkinson said that employees whose positions are being eliminated are being notified this week. The company will provide severance benefits, including outplacement assistance, to affected employees.
Company officials would not speculate on how the moves would affect local operations.