Written by David Castellon
The surprise plans to close Zacky Farms will result in the losses of 475 Valley jobs, 323 of them in the Fresno area.
That according to the Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act letter received by the California Employment Development earlier this week from Fresno-based Zacky Farms. It announces the company’s plans to close both its Fresno and smaller Stockton poultry-processing operations by mid January.
The Stockton plant, which employed 152 people, reportedly already has closed.
By law, companies employing 100 people or more are required to send such letters to the EDD and local governments to inform them when closures and mass layoffs are coming.
The Zacky letter states the company initiated its layoff plans on Friday, and several employees reported receiving layoff notices earlier this week.
For the most part, employees received no formal warning that the company was in trouble ahead of the layoff notices, though one worker said deliveries and shipments of poultry had slowed down over the past month when activity should be ramping up ahead of the Thanksgiving season.
In addition, some employees had reported at least two of their weekly paychecks from Zacky had bounced in recent weeks.
“In the preceding months, Zacky has been actively seeking capital, which, if obtained, would have enabled Zacky to avoid or postpone the closure of the Zacky plants, and Zacky’s management reasonably and in good faith believed that giving notice while these efforts were ongoing would have precluded Zacky from obtaining the requisite capital to avoid the closures,” the WARN letter states.
“Zacky’s management recently received information which casts significant doubt on its ability to obtain such capital and financing and is promptly provided this notice as a result thereof,” it continues.
And on Monday, some senior company officials received a letter from CEO Lillian Zacky stating, “As I sit here at my desk with a heavy heart, I and Zacky Farms have come to a realization,” the message begins.
“After four generations and an enormous effort to keep the company in sync with the fast pace of changing times, we no longer are able to keep up with business as usual.”
While not actually stating a closure is coming Zacky’s letter goes on to say it has become “impossible” for the company to sustain profitability and the company will deliver all its turkey products for the Thanksgiving holiday.
That same day, employees reported receiving layoff notices, which included notification that all company operations would cease on Jan. 19, 2019.
Officials with Foster Farms have not responded to interview requests to discuss what happened in the company and within the poultry industry to prompt the upcoming closure.