116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
West Liberty Foods will close its Mount Pleasant meat-processing and slicing facility in early May of next year, eliminating 350 jobs there, the company announced Friday.
The West Liberty-based company will move and consolidate operations from this location to other facilities in Iowa, Illinois and Utah, the company said in a news release Friday.
The closure will occur in two phases, with the first on Dec. 31. Brian Melhus, general counsel for West Liberty Foods, told The Gazette 130 employees will be impacted in the first phase, with the remaining 220 employees impacted in the second phase.
All operations will cease at the plant on May 7, 2023.
Employees will be offered work at one of its other locations as well as provided with relocation and transportation services, stay bonuses — in which West Liberty Foods gives employees a bonus for not leaving the company for a set time — severance pay, re-employment services and assistance with filing unemployment claims, said Tara Lindsay, the company’s chief talent and culture officer.
West Liberty Foods also has plants in Bolingbrook, Ill., and Tremonton, Utah in addition to the West Liberty location. Melhus said the company doesn’t expect the other locations to be impacted.
“There are no plans to close or consolidate any other operations,” Melhus said.
Employees were told about the decision in one-on-one and group meetings, the company said.
“Respect and care for people is a core value of our company, and shutting down a plant is a tough thing to do,” said Brandon Achen, West Liberty Foods president and CEO.
“Although we are taking steps to lessen the impact on our team members, we will be eliminating the jobs of some exceptional people through no fault of their own. I want each of them to know that we value their contributions and deeply regret the need for this action.”
Since opening in 2003, the Mount Pleasant facility has produced “hundreds of millions of pounds” of sliced deli meats for customers in food service and retail, according to a news release.
The company has seen a “recent shift” in the products and capabilities needed to support customers, the news release said. A customer of West Liberty Foods decided to move its deli-slicing in store, Melhus said.
“This shift has resulted in a drastic reduction in pre-sliced deli meats, leaving this particular facility and its equipment unmatched to the company’s future needs and direction,” the news release said.
The company has been posting on Facebook in recent months highlighting job opportunities at the three other locations. As of Friday afternoon, there are 74 job opportunities listed on the West Liberty Foods job website.
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