Shortly after Pilgrim's Pride announced that its second-quarter results were dismal (as in, "a net loss of $128.1 million"), the chicken-seller delivered some very bad news: It's closing its mammoth Dallas processing plant by September. The plant, on Ferris just south of downtown, employs 1,000 hourly and salaried employees, says the company, some of whom will be allowed to apply for similar jobs elsewhere in the company.
Bill Lovette, president and chief executive officer of Pilgrim's, says, sorry, but he had no choice: "By closing the Dallas facility, we can consolidate that production volume at three other plants and help those sites run closer to full capacity. In addition, we will eliminate the cost associated with transporting live birds from northeast Texas to the Dallas processing plant and shipping offal from Dallas back to our protein conversion plant in Mt. Pleasant." Nothing pleasant about it.
Karl Zavitkovsky, head of the city's Office of Economic Development, wasn't aware of the closure till contacted by Unfair Park. And he acknowledges: It's a big blow.
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"Any time you have a facility of that magnitude close, it's not good news," he says. "The fact is there's not a whole lot we can do about that, and unfortunately it's the sort of thing that happens in this part of the economic cycle. I guess we've been more fortunate than most to not have more of this happen, and we have a more balanced economy than most, but it's the sort of thing of thing you can expect and try to mitigate. [But] it's never nice when a big operation shuts down and a lot of people are put out of work."