VAN BUREN (KFSM) — Roughly 150 employees at Tyson Foods’ Van Buren plant will be laid off at the end of March, according to Worth Sparkman, a company spokesman.
The temporary layoffs result from “changes in production needs,” and impacted employees may be eligible to work at other locations in the River Valley and Northwest Arkansas, Sparkman said.
Employees at the plant at 802 S. 28th St. learned of the layoffs Wednesday (March 7). Tyson will assist employees with the application process.
In a statement, the Van Buren Chamber of Commerce said it will coordinate with Tyson officials and employees to assist during the transition:
“While such announcements are difficult for any community, (the chamber) is hopeful that those affected will find gainful employment at one of the city’s many other respected companies or will have other opportunities at nearby Tyson facilities. We value our partnership with Tyson and their many employees and look forward to working with them in the future.”
The announcement comes roughly one month after Tyson said it would pay $100 million in bonuses to “eligible frontline employees” as part of a $300 million boost to cash flow from lower tax rates. Full-time workers received $1,000 and part-time workers $500.
The move also comes as the Fort Smith manufacturing sector struggles to grow, according to Talk Business & Politics.
Employment in the sector was an estimated 17,800 in December, unchanged compared with December 2017 and down from 18,000 in December 2016.