Denison, IA reacts to possible Tyson plant closure
By Forrest Saunders, Multimedia Journalist - email
DENISON, Iowa (KTIV) -
While one town celebrates, another braces. Tyson has said their proposed expansion will mean they may no longer need beef carcasses shipped to Dakota City from their processing plant in Denison.
They may close the Denison plant as early as 2013. That would mean hundreds of workers could be displaced, in a town of less then 10,000.
Arlen Thoreson has worked at the Tyson plant in Denison, Iowa for 35 years. That's about how long he's heard it was going to close.
"I've heard it for years, I've heard it ever since I've been here," said Thoreson.
This time word came from Tyson itself in a press release Thursday morning. Hard news to hear for a 55 year old.
"I don't like the idea of having to go get another job this late in the game," said Thoreson.
Arlen's just one of about 400 employees that work at the plant. And, if they close down, it's going to be a serious impact not just to him, but to the town of Denison as well.
The town's size is about 8,300, the plant makes up about 5% of their total workforce. Behind Farmland Foods, it's their second largest employer, with a payroll of about $12 million a year. Those are big numbers the city would hate to lose.
"You've got impacts on your school system, numbers matter there, impacts on your sales taxes, local businesses, business traffic," said Denison City Manager Kevin Flanagan.
Denison leaders are already trying to come up ways to fix the potential problem. One is talking to other employers in town to see if they could absorb some of the cuts. They'd also like to talk turkey with Tyson in coming days.
"Either helping Tyson find another use for that facility, or find another company to come in and occupy that facility, and provide a significant amount of jobs," said Executive Director of the Chamber and Development Council of Crawford County Don Luensmann.
Jobs like Thoreson's. Which he wants to keep.
"Hope they keep working and I get a raise," he said with a laugh.
In their press release Thursday, Tyson said if they proceed with "a closing in 2013, the company will give a 60 day notice, as required by law, and will also work with affected team members to explore job opportunities at other Tyson locations."
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