Update 1/28/08: To get a feel for what is happening in Emporia, where the shock is barely settling in with residents, read these four articles and the comments from the Emporia Gazette (here, here, here and here).
Update 1/29/08: American Congress for Truth blog has a post on the Emporia situation today here. Post says Somalis plan to leave Emporia.
We have been writing for several months about the fact that the Tyson’s meat packing plant in Emporia, KS had been bringing hundreds of Somali workers (400 by one count) and their families to this Kansas city causing a culture clash of some magnitude. As a matter of fact, we have a whole category (over 20 posts) here at RRW addressing that controversy.
Now comes the news, out of the blue and late on a Friday, that Tyson’s will lay off 1500 workers at that plant.
Beef slaughter operations will cease within the next few weeks. However, the facility will still be used as a cold storage and distribution warehouse and will process ground beef.
The discontinuation of slaughter operations will result in the elimination of approximately 1,500 of the 2,400 jobs currently provided at the Emporia plant.
I’ve wondered on previous occasions what happens to refugees and towns flooded with immigrants if the economy starts to tank. It is already difficult enough I’m told to find work for unskilled laborers such as the Somalis, where will they go now? Will they stay in Emporia on welfare? Or, move with Tyson’s to another unsuspecting city? Time will tell.
Affected workers will continue to be paid and receive benefits for 60 days. Tyson Human Resources representatives will begin meeting with them next week to discuss other employment opportunities within the company. The workers will be encouraged to consider transferring to other Tyson locations, such as company beef facilities at Finney County, Kansas; Dakota City and Lexington, Nebraska; and Joslin, Illinois.
Come to think of it, didn’t Tyson’s representatives only about two months ago lecture the people of Emporia to welcome these newcomers to their city, that the Somalis were now part of the community?