Day One at the Poultry Plant

By: Laura Speakman
By: Laura Speakman

"It's good to see everybody back; it's good to see familiar faces, see them in the store, and we welcome Virginia Co-op," said Kathy Deavers, owner of K&J's Market.

Kathy Deavers owns the store across the street from the Hinton Plant. It's been two months, but now the parking lot is full and operations are up and running.

The face of the plant has changed. Virginia Poultry Growers Cooperative is the new owners. It only hired back around 400 of the 1300 workers who were at the plant in September.

"We needed to start out a little bit smaller to make sure our meat sales, get them in order, not start out too big, too fast, and so we'll probably grow into a couple of different things later on," said Sonny Meyerhoeffer, President of Va. Poultry Growers Co-op.

Monday, the plant produced about twenty trailer loads or about 20,000 birds. They started off slower for the workers. Pilgrim's Pride used to produce about 150,000 birds a day. But Meyerhoeffer says once they are up and running at full speed, they will produce the same pounds of meat at Pilgrim's Pride. Those who are back at work are excited to be back.

"It's gonna help us all. We're gonna have a paycheck for Christmas, ya know; that's why everybody is excited to get back, plenty of money for Christmas," said Joyce Lee Miller, Hinton Plant Worker for 35 years.

"Supervisors seem a lot nicer. As long as they are nice to me, I'm nice to them," said James Anderson, Hinton Plant Worker for four years.

Many workers told TV-3 they are getting the same pay but better benefits. As for whether the co-op is a better boss than Pilgrim's Pride, they say it's too early to tell, but so far so good.

50 North Main Street Harrisonburg, VA 22801 540-433-9191 - Switchboard 540-433- 4028 - Fax 540-433-2700 - News Fax

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