City Hit by Butterball, Caterpillar Factory Closures
Montgomery, Illinois was hit by not one but two recent factory closing announcements– one from Caterpillar Inc. (NYSE:CAT) and one from BUTTERBALL, LLC–which will impact hundreds of workers in the area.
Butterball, a company that focuses on meats, and Caterpillar, a machinery producer, are both shutting the doors of their Montgomery facilities. Butterball employs 600 full-time workers.
The company has stated that it is looking to try and keep as many of its employees as possible and move them to other factories.
“We are committed to retaining as many of our Montgomery employees as possible, and are committed to offering relocation assistance to any of our team members who have an interest in staying with the company and accept an available position at another location,” Butterball Chief Operating Officer Jay Jandrain wrote in an emailed statement to the Chicago Tribune. (Source: Ibid.)
Though the company is making efforts to ensure that as many of the employees as possible will find placement in other factories, that may not be possible for the majority of the workers. Butterball has plants in Missouri, Arkansas, and North Carolina, but no others in Illinois, meaning that any workers looking to stay on would have to relocate to a different state.
The announcement brings even more pain to the already suffering Montgomery. Caterpillar announced last month that it would be closing its manufacturing plant in the area by the end of 2018, leading to a further 800 jobs lost.
Smaller communities like Montgomery are especially hit by these types of downturns, as well-paying manufacturing jobs are a scarcity in many parts of the U.S. and especially in these smaller towns that don’t have the requisite infrastructure to draw in revitalizing investment or find other sources of employment for the large swaths of workers now without a job.
While the company looks to the state for help in selling the factory, the future of the laid-off employees is uncertain at the moment, as whether a new company can move in and make use of the closing factory grounds or whether this is the beginning of the permanent decay for this sector in Montgomery has yet to be seen.
Source: “Butterball to close 600-employee meatpacking plant in Montgomery,” Chicago Tribune, May 18, 2017.