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Tyson to cut 500 jobs, including some in Chicago, as part of restructuring

Chicago Tribune logo Chicago Tribune 2/7/2020 By Alexia Elejalde-Ruiz, Chicago Tribune

Tyson Foods is eliminating about 500 jobs, mostly corporate roles in Chicago and Arkansas, as part of a restructuring program.

The world’s second-largest processor of poultry, pork and beef said in its first-quarter financial filing Thursday that the cuts are “expected to contribute to the company’s overall strategy of financial fitness through the elimination of overhead and consolidation of certain enterprise functions.”

Most of the job cuts will happen in Chicago, where Tyson employs about 500 people, and its headquarters of Springdale, Arkansas. The company said the cuts involve a variety of roles and declined to give a breakdown by location.

“It’s always difficult to eliminate jobs and we’re doing this only after careful consideration,” spokesman Gary Mickelson said in an email. “We’ve already eliminated some of the positions and expect some others will be affected in the months ahead.”

Mickelson said the layoffs are part of “an ongoing focus on financial fitness as we seek to ensure our competitive position.”

Tyson on Thursday reported $10.8 billion in sales for the quarter, up 6% compared with the year before but short of Wall Street’s consensus. Though its beef and pork segments exceeded expectations, poultry profits took a hit as growing chicken production and heavier birds suppressed pricing. Overall net income rose 1%.

The company expects to save $55 million in fiscal 2020 and $65 million the following year as a result of the restructuring program. It estimated it would spend $44 million on severance and other costs associated with the job cuts.

Tyson also plans to increase capital spending to $1.3 billion for the year as it builds additional processing capacity for case-ready fresh chicken, beef and pork.

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