Tyson Foods is increasing hourly pay at most of its U.S. chicken plants, company officials announced on October 23. The decision was made in hopes of boosting employee recruiting and retention.

The move, effective November 1, affects hourly production, maintenance and refrigeration workers at 51 of the company’s chicken plants. This includes raising the starting pay for production workers at almost 40 plants to at least $10 an hour. The starting rate at some facilities had previously been in the $8 to $9 range.

This change in the starting rate, along with other increases of varying amounts for experienced production, maintenance and refrigeration workers, means the average hourly pay for those who have been on the job for more than a year will be more than $12 an hour. Top hourly production pay in Tyson Foods’ chicken operations exceeds $16 an hour.

Maintenance and refrigeration workers at the 51 chicken plants will also experience increases of varying amounts. As a result, top pay for some maintenance jobs will reach $23 an hour while the highest pay for certain refrigeration jobs will be $26 an hour.

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“We’re increasing pay to remain competitive in the labor markets where we operate and to retain the quality team members we need to keep running successfully,” said Noel White, president of Tyson Foods’ poultry business. “We believe we have the best team in the chicken business and we want to keep it that way.”

Tyson Foods’ compensation department frequently coordinates third-party wage surveys and job market research in the areas where it has facilities. “We offer the highest-paying entry level jobs in many of our plant communities and pay more than most companies in the chicken business,” White said.

In addition to competitive pay, Tyson Foods offers affordable health, life, dental, vision, and prescription drug benefits to its team members and their families, the company stated.

Nearly half of Tyson Foods’ team members in the chicken business have been with the company for five years or more and almost one-quarter of them have been with the company for 20 years or more.