PLAINVIEW, Texas--(BUSINESS WIRE)--The Cargill beef plant in Plainview, TX that employs over 1,800 workers represented by the United Food and Commercial Workers Local Union 540 has been slated for closure on February 1. The plant is closing due to an ongoing cattle shortage. The cattle shortage is being driven by a severe, two-year drought that has affected the entire beef and meat industry. Extraordinarily high feed prices are also contributing to the cattle shortage.
“The meat industry has been devastated by this severe drought. Farmers and workers in the industry are also suffering. The area is in desperate need of some relief in order to save the industry, help farmers, keep more plants from closing, and keep workers from losing their jobs,” said UFCW Local 540 President Johnny Rodriguez.
Feed prices are increasing due to the ethanol mandate and the drought. Because the ethanol mandate means so much grain is being used for ethanol, it makes the price of grain for feed prohibitively high. The drought means there’s no grass and a shortage of supplies available for feed. Both these factors make it difficult to bring cattle to market.
The UFCW is committed to working together with Cargill to give as many workers as possible the opportunity to relocate to other Cargill plants including plants located in Friona, Texas, and Dodge City, Kansas. Where relocation is possible, the UFCW will be working to ensure that workers are not brought on as “new hires” but will keep their benefits and eligibility for their pension.
“Veteran Cargill workers should not have to start at the bottom as a new hire in a different Cargill plant,” Rodriguez said.
The UFCW will be working around the clock to minimize the economic disaster to workers brought on by this drought. We will ensure that Cargill fulfills any remaining financial obligations it has to workers through their union contracts, or under the WARN Act.
The United Food and Commercial Workers International Union (UFCW) represents more than 1.3 million workers, primarily in the retail and meatpacking, food processing and poultry industries. The UFCW protects the rights of workers and strengthens America’s middle class by fighting for health care reform, living wages, retirement security, safe working conditions and the right to unionize so that working men and women and their families can realize the American Dream. For more information about the UFCW’s effort to protect workers’ rights and strengthen America’s middle class, http://www.ufcw.org/, or join our online community at http://www.facebook.com/ufcwinternational and https://twitter.com/UFCW.