Foster Farms closing in Creswell.Byline: Joe Mosley The Register-Guard
CRESWELL - Foster Farms, one of this town's largest employers and a longtime supporter of community events, announced Friday that it will close its plant within the next two months and consolidate its remaining Northwest chicken processing operations in Kelso, Wash.
The move is expected to eliminate 53 local jobs by early October; displaced displaced
see displacement. workers are being offered relocation assistance or severance pay Severance Pay
Compensation that an employer gives to someone who is about to lose their job.
Severance pay is not always paid to employees. It depends on the situation in which the employee is losing their job and whether legislation requires severance to be paid. . Another 22 employees will remain at Foster Farms' Creswell location to provide plant security and operate the company's chicken waste rendering plant, until a similar rendering facility can be sited and built in Kelso.
"When that gets built, the rendering plant here will be closed down," Creswell plant manager Al Acosta said Friday.
Creswell City Administrator Mark Shrive shrive
v. shrove or shrived, shriv·en or shrived, shriv·ing, shrives
1. To hear the confession of and give absolution to (a penitent).
2. said the processing plant's closure will directly affect city revenue by eliminating the largest municipal water customer.
"It will also have an impact ... because Foster Farms was a great community partner," Shrive said, citing the company's willingness to support local events.
"That's also going to be a great loss," he said. "They were always working with the (Future Farmers of America) at the high school, and donating products for various organizations."
California-based Foster Farms purchased the Creswell operations in 1987 from the parent company of Fircrest Poultry Farms poultry farm n → granja avícola
poultry farm n → élevage m de volaille
poultry farm poultry n → , and in recent years has had a hot-and-cold history at the site.
About 130 jobs were cut at the plant in October 1998, but the workers were rehired seven months later. In 2001, Foster Farms laid off 140 of its 250 employees.
Acosta said the Creswell plant's days have been numbered since Foster Farms built a state-of-the-art processing facility in Kelso. The local layoffs in 2001 were ordered to accommodate a ramp-up of capacity at the Kelso operation, which now employs about 800.
Foster Farms, among the largest chicken processing companies in the United States United States, officially United States of America, republic (2005 est. pop. 295,734,000), 3,539,227 sq mi (9,166,598 sq km), North America. The United States is the world's third largest country in population and the fourth largest country in area. , also has processing plants in Fresno and Livingston, Calif., to serve its California markets.
"It's been in the works for the past eight years," said Acosta, referring to his plant's closure. "That was the reasoning behind building that facility up there (in Washington) - to incorporate all the smaller plants Foster Farms had acquired."
Most of the jobs that will be eliminated in Creswell pay wages of $8 to $9 per hour, although some pay as much as $14 per hour, according to according to
1. As stated or indicated by; on the authority of: according to historians.
2. In keeping with: according to instructions.
3. John Etten, collective bargaining collective bargaining, in labor relations, procedure whereby an employer or employers agree to discuss the conditions of work by bargaining with representatives of the employees, usually a labor union. director with the United Food & Commercial Workers union Local 555. The union represents most of the production-floor workers at Foster Farms' Creswell plant.
"We did negotiate some money for reimbursement Reimbursement
Payment made to someone for out-of-pocket expenses has incurred. for moving expenses ... and also got some severance pay," Etten said. "It's not much, but it gets them by for a little bit. We're doing the best we can."
The severance package A severance package is pay and benefits an employee receives when they leave employment at a company. In addition to the employee's remaining regular pay, it may include some of the following:
Etten said the company is offering travel and some moving expenses for local employees who choose to follow their jobs to Kelso. "They'll not only have a job, but if they need to rent something they're going to get enough money to put a deposit down," he said. "The main thing is, they really are trying to encourage anyone (to relocate). They need workers in Kelso."
Employees were told of the shutdown shut·down
A cessation of operations or activity, as at a factory.
the closing of a factory, shop, or other business
shut down on Thursday and were meeting with union representatives on Friday to discuss relocation, severance and retraining re·train
tr. & intr.v. re·trained, re·train·ing, re·trains
To train or undergo training again.
re·train options, Etten said.
"No one's happy - it's still a shock," he said. "But no one's really surprised."