MILWAUKEE (WITI) -- Cargill announced on Wednesday, July 30th that it will close its Milwaukee beef harvest facility, which employs approximately 600 people. The closure takes effect at the close of business, Friday, August 1st.
The closure of the facility results primarily from the tight cattle supply brought about by producers retaining cattle for herd expansion. The ground beef plant at the site will remain open to meet customer needs, employing approximately 200 people. Cargill’s six other U.S. beef harvest plants are unaffected.
Cargill purchased the beef harvest plant in 2001 and it has a processing capacity of 1,300 to 1,400 animals daily.
For the more than 600 people impacted at the plant, Cargill will be offering opportunities to fill positions at other company locations in the region. Those who relocate to positions at other Cargill facilities will receive assistance. For displaced employees, Cargill will provide support including a job fair in Milwaukee the week of August 4.
Additionally, these 600 workers will receive 60 days pay.
Cargill will continue to honor its community commitments in Milwaukee through the end of calendar year 2014. The company’s six remaining U.S. beef processing plants are located in California, Texas, Kansas, Colorado, Nebraska and Pennsylvania.
During the shift change at Cargill, as workers clock out for the day -- they normally leave the stresses of work behind. But on Wednesday -- with many of them finding out they'll be out of a job in just two days, they walked away with more stress.
"This is crazy. There's going to be a lot of angry people. It's very big news. I was not aware of anything like this happening," Monicca McCarty said. McCarthy's significant other works at the facility.
McCarty says she's unsure if he's one of the 600 workers affected by the closure, but says she's definitely worried.
"We would definitely have a hard time paying our rent and we would definitely have a harder time taking care of our four children. I'm very saddened by it, and angry," McCarty said.
The closure of the beef harvest facility in Milwaukee comes after an 18-month analysis.
"It's unfortunate, sad and regrettable that we had to do this. We examined the situation very carefully. We looked at every way to keep the plant open and it's just not economically viable," Mike Martin with Cargill said.
Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett said Wednesday he was made aware of the announcement on Wednesday. He says his top priority is making sure those people impacted will find work quickly.
"A lot of people, hourly people, who depend on them to support their families. Our concerns right now are moving very, very quickly on how we can work with those families to ensure they get jobs so they can continue to live in the city of Milwaukee and support their families," Mayor Barrett said.
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