Tyson Foods closing Northwest Jacksonville meat plant, eliminating 219 jobs

The jobs, dominated by food handlers and butchers, will be cut when the plant closes effective Jan. 8, 2024.

Tyson plans to close its plant at 5441 W. Fifth St. in the Paxon area of West Jacksonville.
Tyson plans to close its plant at 5441 W. Fifth St. in the Paxon area of West Jacksonville.
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Tyson Foods Inc. notified the state and Mayor Donna Deegan that it will close its Jacksonville plant effective Jan. 8, cutting 219 jobs.

Tyson, based in Springdale, Arkansas, filed the notice Nov. 8 under the state Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act.

The plant is at 5441 W. Fifth St. in the Paxon area of West Jacksonville.

“As part of the Company’s business strategy to operate more efficiently, Tyson Foods, Inc., has determined that it must eliminate all jobs at its Jacksonville facility located at 5441 West fith Street, Jacksonville, Florida 32254,” Tyson Vice President Brandon Smith said in the letter to Deegan and the State Trade & Rapid Response Program.

“Tyson Foods regrests that team members at the Jacksonville facility must be permanently displace yet hopes to accomplish this plant closing with the least possible disruption to the lives of the team members, their families, and the community,” it said.

The letter said the last day of work will be on or about Jan. 8, 2024.

The notice is made 60 days in advance, which is required by the act.

The 219 jobs include 91 food handlers, 60 butchers, and fewer than 10 each in 27 other job profiles, including general managers, supervisors, warehouse workers, a nurse and an interpreter.

The Bruss Co., a Tyson Foods subsidiary, bought the 4.3-acre site Jan. 7, 2012. It paid $1.5 million for the 47,000-square-foot building developed in 1974. 

The former shrimp-processing facility had been vacant for several years.

In January 2012, after City Council initially approved incentives for the deal, The Bruss Co. announced it would open a steak-cutting plant, creating 200 jobs and investing $11 million to buy and renovate the 47,000-square-foot meat processing facility. 

The former shrimp-processing facility had been vacant for several years.

After the incentives were approved, Bruss said it completed the property purchase and would start renovations on a plant to age and portion cuts of beef and pork.

Operations would start in the middle of the year.

In 2013, Bruss Co. reapplied for the $1.2 million in city and state incentives, which Council had approved in December 2011.

It said delays from environmental remediation affected the performance schedule in the original agreement, which expired, resulting in the need for new legislation with a revised performance schedule.

The company said it would create 200 jobs with an average wage of $31,000 plus benefits by Dec. 31, 2017.

Of the 200 jobs, 162 are semiskilled with “an excellent employee benefit package” valued at $8,000, according to the project summary.

Its estimated private investment was $7.2 million for the acquisition, renovations and investment in machinery and equipment.

The incentives comprise a Brownfield Redevelopment bonus tax refund of $500,000, of which the city was obligated for $100,000 and the state for $400,000.

The city also pledged a $400,000 Northwest Jacksonville Large Scale Economic Development grant and the state offered a $300,000 Quick Response Training Program grant.

Combined, the city’s obligation of the $1.2 million was $500,000.

The Bruss Co. became a Tyson subsidiary in 2001. It had one 52,000-square-foot meat-processing plant in Chicago that supplies portion-controlled steaks and chops to the food-service industry, according to the project summary.

During the 2011 commission meeting when the incentives were approved, Bruss Vice President and General Manager Anthony Cericola said the company had looked for the right place to establish its second plant.

“We think we’ve found the ideal location,” he said.



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