Pilgrim’s Pride plant shutdown costs more than 800 people their jobs

Poultry plant producer finds no buyer for facility in Siler City. Some work being shifted to Sanford plant.

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Pilgrim's Pride
SILER CITY, N.C. — Pilgrim’s Pride poultry plant in this town of 8,500 people shutdown Friday, throwing more than 800 people out of work.

Ray Atkinson, director of corporate communications for Pilgrim’s Pride, confirmed the closing. Citing market conditions, the company said in March that the plant would be either sold or shuttered. As of Friday, Atkinson said, no buyer had been found.

“To date, none of the interested parties have presented us with a formal offer in an amount that would make us change our plans,” Atkinson said.

Some employees are eligible for severance benefits, he added.

The shutdown also affects some 100 growers who worked with Pilgrim’s Pride on a contract basis. Their workload is being shifted to a Pilgrim’s Pride plant in Sanford that remains open.

The plant is the second-largest employer in Chatham County, where the jobless rate in April ran 4.2 percent with 1,383 people unemployed according to the N.C. Employment Security Commission.