HyLife Foods, the Canadian pork group, is to close a factory in the US, which will lead to more than 1,000 staff losing their jobs unless a buyer for the facility can be found.
The company said it is trying to attract a buyer for a sale of “all or a portion” of the plant’s business. Some 1,007 employees work at the facility, which is located in Windom in Minnesota.
“We must, however, acknowledge the possibility that we will be unable to find such a buyer or that, if a sale takes place, the buyer will not extend offers to some or potentially all of the employees at the facility,” Tom Seigfreid, the CFO of HyLife Foods, said in a letter to the Minnesota state government warning of the planned closure.
The pork producer sent a worker adjustment and retraining notification (WARN notice) to all employees earlier this week (10 April). Companies are obliged to issue a WARN notice in the US to notify employees of permanent termination. Notice periods vary between one and eight weeks depending on the period of employment.
“(…) Today we took the difficult step of sending conditional WARN notices to all employees at the facility. If the company is not successful in finding a buyer or buyers, it is likely that the facility will experience a plant closing in which case all employees will be terminated. There may also be layoffs if the company finds a buyer or buyers, but the buyer does not take on all of the company’s remaining workforce, (…)” Seigfreid wrote.
HyLife Foods said it had been exploring options to keep the site open but the facility had suffered amid high grain costs and general inflationary pressures.
“Current ownership purchased the facility in 2020 with a goal of turning operations around and, since that time, has been fully committed to that objective as evidenced by our investment in plant improvements and our strong community involvement. Unfortunately, despite these efforts, we have had to combat a number of challenges, including inflationary pressures, high grain costs, foreign exchange rates and the plant’s operational losses,” Seigfreid said.
If HyLife Foods does not find a buyer, it expects to terminate the workers’ employment between 17 April and 2 June.
“The company did not issue WARN notices earlier because, as mentioned above, we have been actively seeking additional capital or financing that would have allowed us to continue operations, and we reasonably believed that giving WARN notices would have precluded our ability to secure such capital or financing, resulting in a full shutdown of the facility,” Seigfreid added.