Dallas plant closing adds to jobless count.

If the US Congress ever settles the debt ceiling issue, it may allow attention to be refocused on the country’s employment woes. Another 1,000 will be out of work in Dallas following a Friday announcement by Pilgrim’s Pride that it will close a production plant.

The chicken processing company says it expects the Dallas operation to be shut down within sixty days. Some of those affected will be offered jobs at other plants within the corporation.

Company officials say the move has been forced by increased costs in managing the Dallas location from supplying plants in northeast Texas. Spokesman Gary Rhodes says shuttling supplies and product byproducts between Dallas and Mount Pleasant had contributed to the excessive overhead.

Pilgrim’s Pride lost $128-million in profits over the second quarter of 2011 at least partly due to expensive gasoline and record corn prices.

The poultry producer is located in Greeley, Colorado, near the site of parent company JBS USA. It was founded in 1946 in Pittsburg, Texas. Plants remaining in operation are located at Mount Pleasant, Lufkin, Waco, and Nacogdoches.

More than 200 jobs were lost as a result of the closing of the Texas corporate offices in a move announced on April 12, 2010. It followed the consolidation of Pilgrim’s Pride Corp. and JBS USA and the moving of company headquarters to Colorado.

The majority of the Pilgrim’s Pride business was sold in an $800-million transaction with JBS SA, a Brazilian firm, in 2010. The sale was conducted after the Texas company filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in the face of debt, lower retail prices for their products, and rising feed expenses.

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