RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — As Tyson Foods shutters a chicken plant in Central Virginia, eliminating 692 jobs, state officials have confirmed that the company will still receive $6 million in grants for a new facility in Southside Virginia.
Tyson announced their decision to close the Glen Allen processing plant in March, in a move that will put an estimated 692 workers out of a job and affect 73 contracts for local chicken farmers.
At the same time, Tyson Foods is expected to receive $6 million in state subsidies for a new processing plant opening in Pittsylvania County. The plant, which was announced in 2021 under Democrat Governor Ralph Northam, is expected to cost around $300 million and employ 376 people.
Tyson will get a combined $6 million in state support from the Commonwealth Opportunity Fund and Virginia Investment Performance grant programs. State officials told 8News that the funding would not be affected by the closure of the Glen Allen plant and the elimination of the jobs there, because the grants “are solely based on the investment and jobs performance at that particular facility.”
“The closing of the Hanover plant is not related to the opening of the Pittsylvania plant and the two facilities produce different product lines,” said Suzanne Clark, head of the Virginia Economic Development Partnership.
Clark added that the new plant would be specialized in producing chicken nuggets and other highly processed foods, while the Glen Allen plant had been a general chicken processing facility.
The decision to continue the grants was protested by UFCW 400, the union representing workers at the shuttered Glen Allen plant.
“With at least 700 jobs eliminated by the closure of the Glen Allen plant, Tyson Foods will continue to reap the lavish benefits of taxpayer dollars while Virginia will have 300 fewer jobs,” said union president Mark Federici. “What a disgraceful waste.”