SIOUX CITY, Iowa (KTIV) -- Production has ended, and workers have gone home. Sioux City's John Morrell plant is largely shut down, leaving more than 1,400 people out of work.
One employee says Friday felt just like any other day at work, except everyone knew it wasn't. The union representing many of the workers, says while the plant's closing sooner than expected, the end of the work day came without incident.
Officials from the UFCW 1142 say they spent part of the day answering last minute questions about pay and insurance. They say workers will be paid through April 19, or 20, depending on their shift. April 20 is also when their insurance will run out.
While everyone inside the plant knew the closure was coming, they were expecting to be on the job a little longer. The early closure with no explanation from the company, is leaving many workers with some bitter feelings, some finding out only yesterday.
UFCW 1142 Secretary/Treasurer Brian Peterson says, "I am disappointed that they weren't given more of a notice because I think they were sticking it out to the end, and I think that the company should of kept to what they said."
Peterson says many employees are using the layoff as a new opportunity. He says, a union survey shows the majority will take advantage of re-training opportunities from Western Iowa Tech, in hopes of finding a new career.
Peterson also says that while many of the workers moved to Siouxland for John Morrell, a lot of them hope to stay here to raise their families.
While production is finished at the plant, maintenance workers will report for their last shift on Saturday. After that, just a handful of employees will be in the plant for a week or so, finishing up some last minute tasks.