West Liberty Foods cutting 260 jobs, moving slicing operations

The latest decision will not affect turkey harvesting operations.

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Courtesy Iowa State University

West Liberty Foods will eliminate 260 jobs at its plant in West Liberty, Iowa, as the company will phase out a portion of its operations there.

According to an email from West Liberty Foods Chief Legal Officer Dan Waters, the company is winding down its ready-to-eat slicing operations and its second shift log fabrication operations in West Liberty.

Employees were notified of the decisions on February 13. The phasing out of the affected operations will begin on April 29, and layoffs will occur in stages in April, May, June and November.

Waters explained that the company is moving its slicing operations to the company’s plant in Bolingbrook, Illinois, where the company produces ready-to-eat sandwiches, a product in which West Liberty Foods has seen an increased demand.

There are presently about 865 people employed at the West Liberty plant. Waters stressed that the turkey harvesting operations and first-shift log operations in West Liberty will not be affected, and the company will continue to be headquartered in West Liberty.

West Liberty Foods will work with all affected employees to identify reassignment opportunities within the company, and it will provide on-site re-employment and support services.

Brandon Achen, president and CEO of West Liberty Foods, made the following statement regarding the layoffs: “As a resident of this community, the decision to reduce production capacity in West Liberty was difficult and painful. We value the contributions of all our team members and deeply regret the need for layoffs. We are committed to connecting each affected person with new employment opportunities and support.”

The latest announcement follows earlier decisions affecting West Liberty Foods employees. In November 2023, the company announced it was laying off 54 people in overhead positions. In May 2022, it closed its facility in Mount Pleasant, Iowa, and later sold the plant to Sigma Alimentos.

West Liberty Foods, according to the WATTPoultry.com Top Poultry Companies Database, is the 11th largest turkey producer in the United States. In 2022, it slaughtered 221 million pounds of live turkeys.

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