HANOVER COUNTY, Va. (WRIC) — Hundreds of employees at Tyson Foods were officially put out of a job by the close of business Friday when the company’s plant in Glen Allen closed operations.
The Tyson plant in Glen Allen employed 692 people, some of whom have already found new jobs.
Tyson announced its plans back in March to close operations in Glen Allen and at a plant in Arkansas – affecting the jobs of more than 1,600 people.
This closing comes after company leaders said that they could no longer afford to keep the doors open at this location. In a press release the company says an “inability to economically improve operations” is what forced them to close.
“The cries from the people. It still gets to me,” said Kristin Elmore, who worked at Tyson for 2 and a half years.
Elmore says when she thinks of her old job, she thinks of all the people who now have nowhere to go.
“Tyson was the second chance for a lot of people and for a lot of people,” said Elmore. “This has been really hard and it’s going to be really hard because they can’t just go out and get just any old job.”
Both plant closures in Virginia and in Arkansas were scheduled for Friday, although the last day for many local employees was earlier this week.
Elmore recently got a new job at the boar’s head packing facility in Petersburg.
She says she still remembers what she felt like when she first heard the news that the Tyson plant was closing.
“Shock, utter disbelief. We had a lot of single parents that worked there, people paying for daycare, you know? How am I going to keep a roof over my head? What am I going to do with my kid? How am I going to keep food in the house? What am I going to do now?”
Now Elmore is reminding others that there is a light at the end of the tunnel.
“You will find something. There’s always something for somebody. Just basically I guess it’s one of eternal hope. Just don’t give up hope,” she said.
Tyson has said it will provide opportunities for relocation to employees that qualify, and Hanover County put on a career fair aimed at finding the workers new employment.
Virginia Career Works also offered multiple job fairs last week to help workers find new jobs.