VAN BUREN, Ark. (KNWA/KFTA) — Workers at the Tyson plant in Van Buren protested for a second day in a row Tuesday. One of the workers said more than 300 signatures were gathered on a list of demands for management Tuesday morning.
Workers have until May 12 to find a new job before the plant closes. Many have yet to find one. The main requests are for severance pay based on the years worked by an employee and compensation for work-related injuries. While Tyson is offering a $1,000 bonus for people who stay until the last day, workers don’t think it’s enough.
“These employees have literally worked their lives here for you [Tyson Foods], and you can only offer a grand. No, that’s unnecessary,” Tyson Worker Evelee Hamilton said. “I think these people need more than that.”
Hamilton isn’t striking with some of the other employees but supports their efforts. She has worked at the plant for two years and has been applying for jobs with no luck. She still has no idea what her next moves are just a month out from the plant’s closure.
Maria Ruvalcaba has been working at the Van Buren plant for 16 years. She said team members will continue showing up each day until their demands are met.
“We’re going to stay here. We’re going to stand firm over here, fighting outside until they can hear us,” Ruvalcaba said.
The Crawford County Adult Education Center is working to help those displaced by the upcoming closure. They can assist with job training and placement.
On April 26, the center is hosting a job and resource fair that Tyson workers can attend from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at their facility in Van Buren.
On April 29, a large career fair with over 50 vendors will be set up in the Van Buren High School from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. to help pair Tyson workers up with jobs for when the plant closes.