Cargill prepares employees for job fair

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Updated: 1/19/2013 10:13 pm
Employees at Cargill Meat Solutions showed up Saturday looking for answers. The reality is still setting in after receiving a letter stating they lost their job.

"Both me and my wife are employed here at Cargill. I'm at Cargill, she works at security. She'll more than likely be losing her job as well, so I think the only thing we'll be able to do is pack up and move," Employee Nick Montez said.

The company held an information session for all 2,000 employees this weekend, hoping to give some direction. It plans to put on a job fair, giving employees options within the company.

"I believe they're doing all they can," Employee Juan Rodriguez said. "Especially telling us, giving us all this information out, giving us a choice of what we want to do. Plus, the surrounding, close areas, where we can go and still continue with Cargill. Because like I said, I've been with Cargill for forty years, and they've always treated me right."

While the company is doing everything it can to help its employees, the community of Plainview is working as a whole to lessen the impact.

"I wasn't expecting this whatsoever, and it came to me as a shock. But, beyond that, I just started trying to think what do we do next."

Plainview Mayor Wendell Dunlap said the effects of this closure will be seen throughout the entire city.

"It's going to be tough. Not only did we lose 2,000 plus jobs out at that plant, but whenever our sales start dropping off in some of the businesses, and people possibly might get laid off there, that number could increase a bunch," Dunlap said.

So, after hearing news of the layoffs, Dunlap wasted no time getting to work, meeting with City Council members, Chamber of Commerce, Plainview's school superintendent, and more, to come up with a plan to help.

"Even to this day, I doubt I have the vision of what's going to happen between now and next year," Dunlap said. "But I will say, the people in that group, they were all very positive, they felt like it was something
that is going to be tough, but we would handle it best way we can. The main thing we want to do initially is work with the large number of people out there that are going to be laid off out there, and try to find a place for them to go."

Dunlap said they'll be hosting a job fair in Plainview for the employees, and they're reaching out to businesses in the area to take part.

Another group of citizens is also doing their part to help, using exercise to extend support.

During Saturday's information session, FIT Plainview, a Christian group that exercises together weekly, has changed their venue for a few weeks. Instead of running at 16th Street Park each Saturday, they'll be running around the Cargill plant in support of the employees in need.

"It hit us pretty hard when we found out about it, so we decided that we're going to come out here and pray beforehand, pray for the plant, pray for the families, and pray that somebody has a change of mind," Member Manuel Balderas said. "So we're going to be praying and we're going to be running 3.89 miles every Saturday for the next 11 weeks, and then we're going to be doing something a little different on the last Saturday, which is March 30th."

On that day, the group will circle the plant seven times, an idea they actually got from a book the group is reading at their church.
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