FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (KNWA/KFTA) – UPDATE: Economic Research Experts are seeing a pattern in companies across the world making employee cuts.

Doctor Mervin Jebaraj a Director for the Center for Business and Economic Research says big companies like Tyson make changes like this to make more of a profit.

“You see companies do that any time there is a threat of a downturn when money is no longer cheap,” – Jebaraj said.

Jebaraj says these layoffs could also stem from the fluctuating commodity prices a food processing plant experiences all the time.

“You might at various times end up with a lot of demand for your products or sometimes not a whole lot of demand for your products and you’d have to react to those and make some decisions,” – Jebaraj said.

Tyson nearly a year ago announced they were a tech company, so in their statement they released it was mentioned they wanted to decrease duplicated jobs and move toward automation.

“We have made advancements in technology and automation, accelerating how we do
difficult, repetitive, and hard-to-fill jobs in our plants; Additionally, we are utilizing technology to improve self-service for administrative tasks across all facilities,” Donnie King CEO of Tyson said.

Jebaraj says over time we have seen labor shortages across the board in particularly the food processing industry so more companies are investing in automation to fix those problems.

“There’s been a lot more investments by these companies in automation and as a result of that, you’re going to see lower demand for labor in food processing,” Jebaraj said.

SPRINGDALE, Ark. (KNWA/KFTA) — UPDATE: Tyson Foods revealed this morning that it intends to eliminate 10% of its corporate roles and 15% of its senior leadership positions.

A memo from CEO Donnie King detailed the downsizing, stating that the decision was difficult but necessary for the future of the company.

“As we look towards our future, we must also consider the roles and staffing levels across our teams and prioritize work that drives value for our customers and consumers. This means making the difficult but necessary decision to reduce headcount across the organization,” the memo said.

The news comes after months of troubles that the company has faced in the past year, including employee outcry from moving corporate roles to Springdale and an announcement in March that it will close two U.S. processing plants, resulting in the loss of almost 1,700 employees.

The memo says that the layoffs are part of a strategic agenda.

“While we have made progress on our strategy, fully realizing the opportunity ahead requires
continuing to align our business and our priorities to enable long-term success of the enterprise,” the memo said.

A company spokesperson said that they are constantly evaluating their operations and are finding ways to be better and faster for their team members, customers and consumers.

“We recently announced structural changes and rightsizing of teams, which will allow us to operate with more speed, collaboration and agility and focus on what drives value for our customers and consumers,” the spokesperson said.

The memo adds that discussions with affected team members will occur this week.

While these decisions are never easy, they are necessary and over time will make Tyson Foods stronger. Our team members remain at the heart of everything we do, and we are committed to providing resources and support to those affected. We remain optimistic in the bright future of Tyson Foods and focused on becoming the best organization we can be in service of our team members and our customers.

Tyson spokesperson said to KNWA/FOX24

Other ways that Tyson has made changes throughout the years are below.

  • In December 2021, they announced an enterprise-wide productivity program around enhancements and efficiencies. A company spokesperson said they are making notable progress against their $1 billion savings target, according to a release sent to KNWA/FOX24.
  • In October 2022, all corporate team members were set to move to one campus in Northwest Arkansas “to allow for better collaboration and increased career opportunities, helping them create new roles and remove redundancies.” 
  • To “increase efficiency,” Tyson closed less productive facilities, including a plant in Arkansas, and invested in digital-forward plants, according to the release. 
  • Tyson has made advancements in technology and automation, accelerating difficult, repetitive and hard-to-fill jobs, according to the release. 

Tyson Foods will continue to utilize technology to improve self-service for administrative tasks across all facilities as they have centered their plans on investment toward technology and digitalization.