Pilgrim's Pride Chicken Plant, Employer to 1,000 Locals, Officially Shutters Today

Categories: Biz

VictorRecindos.jpg
Photo by Leslie Minora
After 26 years as a mechanic at Pilgrim's Pride, today is the last day of work for Victor Recindos and his 1,000 coworkers.
Victor Recindos has aged 26 years by the calendar's count since first becoming a mechanic at Pilgrim's Pride chicken processing plant just south of downtown, but he says the decades of continuous labor have worn away at his body and left him run down. He feels ill-prepared to reenter the job market among younger and stronger competition, especially after it's taken a long time to work his way up the pay scale to a level that can sustain his family.

His wife and four boys financially depend on the job as much as he does, and his coworkers, some of whom have worked there longer than he, have become like family. Things were stable for a long time, until they weren't.

As of today, he no longer has a job.

As announced by Pilgrim's Pride in July, the factory, Recindos' second home, is closing its doors as part of cost-cutting consolidation. The closure will affect 1,000 hourly and salaried employees, many of whom have been with the company for decades.

"That's how we eat; that's how we pay bills; it's going to be hard for us," Recindos, who speaks only Spanish, said through his teenage son, Luis Recindos. Luis and his twin brother are graduating high school this year, and Recindos worries about how he will afford the extra expenses that come with graduation, from the cap and gown to the photos.

The company, which struggled with a $128.1 million loss last quarter, sounded slightly reassuring to employees in its July press release announcing the impending closure. "The company will provide transition programs to employees who are not retained in order to assist them in securing new employment, filing for unemployment and obtaining other applicable benefits," the release read. The only offer Recindos has received is for a check worth one week's pay, he said.

After 26 years of showing up to work every day, Recindos, who came to the United States from El Salvador shortly before starting at the plant, insists that is not enough. He will not accept it. He said plant employees were told that they must turn in their work ID card, collect their additional week's pay and sign a paper acknowledging that they received the compensation. Recindos and many of his coworkers are foregoing the small severance and plan on working with an employee advocacy organization to obtain more.

"He doesn't know how he's gonna do it," Luis said, adding that his father is not one to sit around and wait. He'll be looking for a job right away.


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88 comments
Jayt582@gmail.com
Jayt582@gmail.com

I am of hispanic originsand I hate it when people see me and automatically assume I speak spanish and bring someone to translate to speak with me.I don't even waste my time I do know how to speak spanish and english.my fiancé knows hebrew and arabic as well as english.our children speak english and sometimes they learn an occasional word in spanish.I believe that we aa people are more valuable if we can speak another language.but you can't blame the immigrants for feeling more comfortable speaking there own language. Sometimes it makes thing only more difficult for them not us.it affects us in no direct way.so why should anybody else care whether our not he speaks english.your not benefiting from it our losing from it.seriously all these people want to do is support there families.we need to stop judging and just become more accepting as a people I'm just saying.

waterionizers
waterionizers

does anyone know if he's found a job yet? Sad story but seems to be a sign of the times. I wonder if he is looking for <ahref="http: www.hirewelders.com"="">welding jobs,</ahref="http:>

BCulbreath
BCulbreath

I feel for loss of job but the man has been in Dallas 26 years,sons speak English if he wanted to he could also.I am in Berlin at this moment,TV is in another language I have to pay 5.00 if I want English,just left Mexico City every thing in Spanish,I mean every thing only place with english was American Embassy and line to get in there is long as central.People should learn to speak language of country they live in.It cost money to do all this Spanish translation all over the place like we do in Dallas.

james
james

good riddance pilgrim's pride. have any of you folks ever been in the area of that plant> have you SMELLED the stink that fouls the neighborhood? how about them adverising IN mexico for workers to sneak over the border for jobs? bo pilgrim, if he's still alive belongs in jail for immigration violations and environmental filth. he sold it how many years ago? the company did the same shit for 20-30 years.

No Habla?
No Habla?

Here for over 26 years and he doesn't speak english? Is he even a citizen? Sorry, not feeling the pain here.

Texasdave60
Texasdave60

I'd like to help, so, Senor Recindos, please have your son translate:

Machine operators/ welders (Lewisville / Irving/ Carrollton)

Date: 2011-09-19, 9:39AM CDTReply to: job-4yyuq-2606177045@craigslist.org [Errors when replying to ads?]

We have several positions available: Machine operators for a metal manufacturing company in Lewisville TX.Bilingual is a plus. No felonies!!! You must be able to use measuring tape, have mechanical apptitude, have previous machine operating experience, as well as with stand a hot warehouse for 12 hours a day. Hours are from 5am to 5pm Monday- Thursday and then 8 hours on Fridays. Please send your resume.Welder/Fitters In Irving TX. Must be Bilingual! $14 to $16 hourly DOE. Prefer 5plus years experience with Heavy Plate fabrications, flux core, 3/32 & 1/16 wire. 7018 stick electrodes, air arcing and hand burning. Must be able to read welding symbols and pass welding test. If you have experience please send your resume.Maintenance Mechanic in Carrollton TX. Bilingual is a plus. This is a entry level position so only 1 year experience is neccessary. The company is a tile manufacturing company and the shift is 3 days on and 3 days off 12 hour days. Please send your resume.CNC Manual Machinists in Irving TX. $15 to $19 DOE. Bilingual is a plus. Set up and operate manual and CNC lathes ( including boring mills)Perform a variety of turning, boring,, facing, milling, grooving, slotting, kenway machining and all required. Please send your resume.Cell Phone refurbishers needed for a company in Grand Prarie. 2nd shift $9 hourly. No experience needed Must have great attention to detail. Will be put in non paid training for 2 hours and will be given a test to see if you will be hired. Please call for details.

Glenn Hunter
Glenn Hunter

Nice story, Leslie. Kudos for focusing on one of the working people most affected.

jfpo
jfpo

English or no English, anyone working the same manufacturing job for 26 years is going to have a very difficult time finding something else with similar pay and benefits. Another "Texas Miracle!" *

*Texas Miracle" is a copyrighted trademark of Conservatives for Mis-directed Anger and may not be used without the express written consent of Rick Perry.

Chickenchoker
Chickenchoker

Catbird wroteThe plant workers have lost their livlihoods to President Obama's economy and the increasingly harsh regulatory environment (imposed on us all by Obama's Washington) which makes the low cost, profitable business model, which employed Mr. Recindos, obsolete.Care to cite these regulations?Cause I'm callin BS

StopDISD.org
StopDISD.org

Ok you guys we know Mr. Recindos doesn't speak English and maybe he should of done something to learn our language but, we don't know if he tried and had to prioritize between English Classes or a Job he might have had to spend all his time working to provide food on the table and a better education for his children.   We all know that Pilgrims Pride wasn't paying him $20 - $30 a hour.  BTW ~ Just two weeks ago this family's home caught fire and incase the name sounds familiar this family has also been dealing with DISD's Eminent Domain battle for over a year now.  The district threatened and harassed this family trying to force them to sell their home.  As many readers may be aware DISD backed off but, only to turn around and further destroy their community.  This family now faces geo-thermal fields and a 114 space parking lot in-between their home.  So, you think you're having a bad day...think about the Recindos family and many others out there that are unemployed not knowing what their future holds.

Pizzamike
Pizzamike

They are moving operations to Waco where it is cheaper to do business. Can you say flow control. Looks like Mayor Mike is behind on his pledge to create economic growth in the South by around 1,000 jobs.

Ed D.
Ed D.

"Thanks for 26 years of your life, here's a week's pay" is obscene when CEOs who tank their companies leave with tens of millions in compensation after they're shown the door. The war on what's left of the middle and working classes is short-sighted and foolish.

Edgar
Edgar

Congratulations to his two boys on graduating high school.  Their father made many sacrifices to provide a better life for them.  Now that they are equipped to do so, I can only hope that they work hard to help their father during his career transition.  If they do, much respect to them - more is asked of them than most of us commenters.

jfpo
jfpo

I really don't understand the outright hostility I see aimed at the working class on an almost daily basis.

Brenda Marks
Brenda Marks

Mr. Recindos is a hard working, tax paying, compassionate man who has raised his kids, kept them in school and just wants a decent life.  Yet the comments on this post demean, criticize, and insult him.  Amazing.  That he doesn't speak English is not the point.  He is a human being.  And deserves to be treated with respect.  Just as you would expect.  The company promised a transition program and I'm sure is taking the tax benefits associated with such a program.  Therefore, the program should be provided. 

texasdave60
texasdave60

He's not one to sit around and wait? Thanks for your hard work and all, but that language barrier should have been broken long ago. Chinga tu madre, amigo...

Joe Pool
Joe Pool

Recindos has been working in this country for the same company for 26 years and he still speaks only Spanish and has to communicate with English speaking Americans through his sons? Really?

Mike
Mike

They actually closed the plant because upstream and downstream items had to be be shipped in/out.  Plant in Waco is more vertically integrated, with less transportation of raw materials.  Additionally the oversupply of chicken on market removes profit margin and further squeezes out the less efficient producer.  Apparently everybody and his uncle worldwide are raising/selling chickens and prices have dropped like stones off a cliff.

Anonymous
Anonymous

Pilgrim's Pride pays its CEO very well, but it did not offer its last CEO a golden parachute and actually made him pay back some of his signing bonus. and this was not a guy who tanked the company - he simply quit because he didn't want to work for the new owners.if you want to get outraged about what happens in the private sector, please do so when the story at hand presents an opportunity to have a valid point.

Anonymous
Anonymous

that's true, much like it was true of Italian immigrants at the beginning of the last century. they held out learning English as a matter of principle and let their children learn English. I'd be curious if that's the case here as well. if his children manage to repeat the performance of Italian immigrants after a few generations, it will provide the proof that the American dream still exists.

Anonymous
Anonymous

is anyone calling him a lazy worker, or deserving of getting laid off from a job he has performed (probably dutifully) in that time? apparently people see what they want to see from other comments.is it wrong that companies like this often offer millions to executives who are fired as golden parachutes while giving this guy a week's pay after 26 years of helping this company's shareholders and executives line their pockets? yes, that would be wrong. but I'd note that Pilgrim's Pride did not offer its last CEO a golden parachute and actually made him repay some of his signing bonus for quitting too soon after starting. I feel horrible for this guy. even if he spoke English, his employment prospects would be horrible at his age and given his work experience and skills. but if you want us to feel badly for someone with a piece like this, please don't make it the person who has not used his 26 years in the United States to learn the language that the people doing the hiring speak.

Rangers100
Rangers100

Yep.

The white Republican (and some Democratic) hatred for these people is unreal. What's really pathetic about this phenomenon is how many of these people also claim to be Christians despite the fact the Bible repeatedly speaks of love for immigrants.

Just a pathetic group of people.

Anonymous
Anonymous

where did it say the program was not provided? their press release did not mention anything about how much severance would be offered and the article does not make it clear whether job assistance or help filing unemployment has been offered. his anger does not seem to be aimed at the lack of job/transition assistance. it simply says that one week's pay is not enough severance. 

Dallasite1978
Dallasite1978

Brenda, the only negative comments about Mr. Recindos on this comment board relate SOLELY to the fact that he's been here for 26 years and never learned to speak English.  That is an ENTIRELY valid piece of information for anyone reading this story to comment on, especially as the goal of the story is to make us feel bad that he may have trouble finding another job and put PR pressure on PP to cough up money.

The fact that his future job prospects are limited to a significant degree by his own inaction is a valid counter to the agenda journalism Leslie Minora is engaging in with this article. Pointing it out is a criticism of the man, but it is not an "insult", nor is it "demeaning".

Ms. Marks would prefer that we not highlight Mr. Recindos' culpability in his plight (not the getting fired, but the difficulty he will surely face finding another job). 

If anything, the person "demeaning" Mr. Recindos here is Brenda Marks. To "demean" is to "cause a severe loss in the dignity of and respect for (someone or something)". 

It is Brenda Marks who objects to holding Mr. Recindos to the most basic of standards to which anyone not developmentally disabled would expect to be held (learning the language of the country in which you have resided for more than a quarter century).

It is Brenda Marks who, apparently out of a super-abundance of liberal condescension, opines that even bringing this fact up is unfair and insulting to Mr. Recindos, the delicate soul, who is to be pitied sure, but not afforded the basic human dignity of taking him seriously as a human being with personal agency.

I hate to casually throw around charges of racism, so I won't (heh!), but this is pretty close to the "soft [liberal] bigotry of low expectations" that progressives so often subject certain groups to, while puffing themselves up like barnyard roosters with pride and self-satisfaction for their imagined enlightened magnanimity.

Just my two cents...

Rangers100
Rangers100

Wow. How much do you hate Hispanics, Cletus?

Jason
Jason

Based on this comment and the one further up-thread, you sound like a bitter, bitter man.  "Chinga tu madre, amigo..."  Really?  You want to call him a friend after you say that to him?  You.  Are.  An.  Ass.  You have zero knowledge of this man's life.  From this piece, it sounds like this man is the sole breadwinner in the family.  We don't know if he picked up extra work on weekends or at night.  We don't know if maybe he has a handicapped relative that he cares for in his off hours.  We know nothing more than what the writer said, "Who speaks only Spanish".

Compassion, fellow citizen.  Compassion.

Wylie H.
Wylie H.

Yeah, that's really crazy!  It's like.... it's like.... most Americans working in Hong Kong (who never bother to learn Cantonese).... or, or, or... most Americans working in Japan (who never bother to learn Japanese).... or.... most Americans working in Russia (who never bother to learn Russian).... yeah, reallly---- what up with those Salvadoreans and those Americans!  Ooops, I mean, what's up with those Salvadoreans (forgot for a moment the important principle of "American exceptionalism")???

Seriously, just because they come to America, pay taxes and contribute to the economy, what gives them the right to think they should be treated with dignity.  They can't speak English and they have dark skin--- what's up with that?

Paul
Paul

Because they want the gringos to be able to speak to the wabs that don't speak english.

JS
JS

Does anyone know whether PP offered jobs at the Waco plant to the displaced workers in Dallas?

Rangers100
Rangers100

Don't kid yourself. Italians were spat at, accused of not assimilating, accused of taking jobs, and all the exact same nonsense the anti-Hispanic crowds exhibit today. This form of anti-immigrant bigotry has been done many times in the past.

jfpo
jfpo

I was referring to the comments here, where many people seem to think one man's lack of ability to speak English is the real problem.

Brenda Marks
Brenda Marks

The post says the company offered a "transition program" with assistance of ........"  His response indicates it wasn't fulfilled.  Those are the facts given.

Brenda Marks
Brenda Marks

Actually eight paragraphs is far more like your five bucks.  And really, if I had a dollar for every time I heard someone of your type throw out the "soff [liberal] bigotry of low expectations" to insult those who have different opinions, I'd be as rich as Bo Pilgrim, the chicken king.

Anonymous
Anonymous

did anyone say he should be forced to learn English? I believe the commentary was simply that finding gainful employment would be easier if he had learned to speak the business world's dominant language. as for Americans working in Russia, China, Japan, Hong Kong, etc - those companies probably came to the US to recruit them. if they wanted someone who spoke the local language, they could have refused to hire the English speakers.

Downtown Resident
Downtown Resident

The whole dignity thing not withstanding, English is the language of business. You can get all weepy and cry about imperialism if you want but that ship already sailed, English is the commonly accepted language for business in the global economy. Your comparison is weak.

Anonymous
Anonymous

that is incorrect. it said the only offer he got was for a week's severance. 

PlanoDave
PlanoDave

Just a thought...

If you have heard that comment directed toward yourself so frequently, perhaps there is more than a modicum of truth behind it.

Just sayin'.

Carry on.

Dallasite1978
Dallasite1978

Brenda, I'm glad you value my comment so highly.  Of course, you are sending mixed signals as you immediately dismiss those 8 paragraphs as a mere "insult" to those with "differing opinions" (albeit a quality, high value insult).

Nice deflection. You must have rocked in middle-school dodge ball!  As with your original post, you are mistakenly perceiving an "insult" when what you have actually been presented with is an argument.  Like many (almost all?) self-satisfied liberals, you immediately bat away the argument inherent in the phrase "soft bigotry of low expectations" (and explicitly set forth in the preceding paragraph), with the claim that you're being "insulted".

And of course you're too good to lower yourself to responding to a mere "insult" (insert smiley face).

Mr. Recindos was not being "insulted" when people pointed out that his not learning English was a BAD CHOICE for which he BEARS CULPABILITY, inasmuch as every ADULT HUMAN (even a - gasp - minority) is responsible for his exercise of free will. Likewise, liberals are not being "insulted" by the argument that white liberals condescending to hold minorities to lower standards than they would hold themselves or other whites is a form of bigotry. 

The "soft bigotry of low expectations" is an assertion containing within it an argument. Holding a person to lower standards than you would hold yourself (reflexively expecting, assuming and excusing lower test scores, lower achievement, lower functioning) because of their race, culture or creed DEMEANS that person, EVEN IF (strike that, ESPECIALLY IF) you pair that condescension with calls for external support for the poor dears who just can't help the hand they were dealt.

Implicit in your excusing Mr. Recindos' failing to have learned English (and your vociferous defense of him from criticism for that fact) is the argument that it is unreasonable/unfair to expect a PERSON LIKE THAT to have learned English. As if pointing out his failure to learn English is akin to mocking or insulting a disabled child.  That's the "bigotry" I am perceiving in YOU, Brenda.

You have apparently heard that "insult" many times. Have you ever considered addressing it as an argument instead?

Derrick White
Derrick White

I'm curious to know how frequently you conduct business outside of the US?  I conduct business in LA, EMEA, and APAC.  Not everyone speaks English as the language of business.  This is a lie American Businessmen tell themselves.

Downtown Resident
Downtown Resident

Your response just reinforces the point that English is the language of the global economy. A common dialect for business is an enabler of globalization.

You seem to be confusing jingoism or the concept of American exceptionalism with understanding that being able to read/write/speak English is still currently the most efficient means with which one may equip themselves to conduct business in a land in which they were not born, especially if that person does not come from a first world country.

Victor Recinodos would be in just as bad a situation if he migrated to Canada to work in a chicken processing plant despite the fact that Canada does not have the reticence towards embracing multi-lingualism that the US does.

Derrick White
Derrick White

The people that handle the money generally speak 4 or 5 languages, actually.  Among nations with developed economies, the US is unique in its refusal to become multi-lingual.  

Derrick White
Derrick White

"Know" would be an overstatement.  I know enough to keep me out of trouble, but not enough to sound any more educated than an elementary school child.

Downtown Resident
Downtown Resident

"Manufacturing is done increasingly in countries with developing economies, and very few people speak in English"

The people that handle the money do.

Anonymous
Anonymous

what point are you trying to make? people in search of work are best served to learn the dominant language of business wherever they want to work. where this guy wants to live and work, that happens to be English. he MIGHT be able to find a job where speaking English is not required it simply will give him fewer options. 

JS
JS

And do you know or are you learning spanish?

Derrick White
Derrick White

That is not precisely true.  Manufacturing is done increasingly in countries with developing economies, and very few people speak in English in many (maybe even most) of those countries.  I work in Mexico by the way.

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