HANOVER COUNTY, V. (WRIC) — Hundreds of workers at Tyson Foods are scrambling to find another job after the company announced the closure of its Glen Allen plant.

Tyson Foods is closing the facility in May, which will affect nearly 700 employees. The company said the closure is due to an “inability to economically improve operations.” Tyson Foods also said they want to concentrate production and use full capacity at each plant.

John Budesky, the Hanover county administrator, said he was notified of the announcement on Monday, March 13. 

“[They] have been a valuable employer, so it certainly was a disappointment for us to see that plant come to a close,” he said. 

Budesky said the facility sits on Mountain Road. It has been there since the 1950s and in the late 1980s Tyson Foods took over the plant.

“So, for decades Tyson has provided generations of people not just in Hanover but in the region employment opportunities,” Budesky said. “There are individuals in our community that have stories about their service in the industry and have great experience and talent.”

The President of United Food and Service Workers Local 400, which represents the plant workers, said Tyson Foods didn’t give them an advance warning.

The union also criticized the company for shuttering the plant even as they invest hundreds of millions in a new plant in Pittsylvania county. The company received over $6 million in public assistance from the commonwealth for that project.

8News reached out to the Governor’s office to find out if they intend for the company to pay back a portion of the state funds it received. The Virginia Economic Development Partnership told 8News Monday that the closing of the Hanover plant is not related to the opening of the Pittsylvania plant, and the two facilities produce different product lines.

“The metrics outlined in the Commonwealth’s Opportunity Fund (COF) and Virginia Investment Performance (VIP) Grant performance agreements for the Tyson Pittsylvania County project are solely based on the investment and jobs performance at that particular facility,” Suzanne Clark, with VEDP said in a statement.

She said the COF and VIP incentive contracts that VEDP entered into for the Pittsylvania County project are not impacted by the closure.

“VEDP will work with our partners in Hanover County to market the Tyson facility for economic development prospects as soon as possible,” Clark added.

Tyson Foods said there may be opportunities for employees to relocate to another plant where applicable. The closest Tyson Foods plant to Glen Allen is in Danville, county leaders said.

Budesky said the facility will remain in Danville for now. Over time, Tyson Foods will reduce the interior upfit that has run the plant, so there will be a tax impact to that operation.

Budesky added that the county wants to support the Tyson Foods employees.

“Just in the past 24 hours we’ve had employers reach out to us saying that they’re extremely saddened for those employers that are going to lose their job, but they have openings,” he said.

Hanover County’s Economic Development team created a webpage for displaced workers. It will be updated frequently with job opportunities for the plant workers. It can be found, here.