SIOUX CITY, Iowa (KTIV) -- A day nearly 1,500 John Morrell employees have been bracing for is coming early. NewsChannel 4 has learned that Morrell will shut down its Sioux City operations at the end of the week, rather than on April 20, as originally planned.
One John Morrell employee says the company has just started letting employees know the news.
He says on Thursday, the plant will receive its last shipment of hogs for slaughter. That means Thursday night will be the night crew's last shift. Then, on Friday, day shift employees will finish their work. Finally, on Saturday, maintenance workers round out their last day on the job.
Twenty-eight-year employee Dennis Biederman says rumors of an early closure had picked up over the past couple days, but Wednesday was the first time the company said anything to workers.
"The way that management were going around, telling people what their work schedule was for the rest of the week is like they were going to close by the end of the week," Biederman said.
But, actual confirmation from the company to employees came just Wednesday afternoon.
Biederman works the day shift, but says a night shift worker told him the company posted the announcement that the plant will cease production on Friday.
NewsChannel 4's Zach Tecklenburg spoke with some workers leaving after the day shift Wednesday afternoon, and many of them still had no idea that Friday would be their last day. Biederman says there's been a lack of communication from the company to employees from the start.
Biederman says, "I don't want to leave there having hard feelings. I appreciate the job I had for all these years you know, but to leave like this is a little bit of a setback for me."
A spokesperson for Iowa Development says they've learned workers will be paid through April 19th. She says the plant can close before their original April 20th date... because John Morrell had given more notice... than required by the WARN act. They gave 90 days instead of the 60 days that's required.
And... Iowa Workforce development had completed all of the scheduled worker meetings... that talked about employment and re-training options.