Wayne Farms has 500 jobs available, offering a $1,500 signing bonus at Decatur, Albertville plants

One of the largest chicken processing companies in the United States is facing a labor shortage.

Posted: Jul 22, 2021 6:23 PM
Updated: Jul 23, 2021 12:27 PM

Wayne Farms has four plants in North Alabama, with a total of 500 job openings. 

The company produces two billion pounds of chicken each year, but the pandemic put a strain on production. 

"Covid hit us in two, three different phases," said Heath Loyd, senior director of operations. "Now, currently, we’re about 200 people short on the fresh side of our business in Decatur and about 150 short on our prepared side."

Loyd said the pandemic caused a labor shortage across all four of the North Alabama facilities in Decatur and Albertville. 

"We’ve gone through a period of decreased volume, to adjust to the pandemic and the staffing," said Loyd. 

Prior to the pandemic, the two prepared-food plants in Decatur processed 3.8 million pounds of chicken per week. Now, 300,000 pounds less are being processed each week.

Tim Smith, a worker at one of the prepared food plants said, "I do believe when we get more people in and can fill the line back up it will be less stressful on individuals out here working on the lines and the floor."

Smith said he's hoping now that pandemic-related unemployment funding has ended the number of applicants will rise. 

Wayne Farms is offering incentives to hire people across the four plants. The big dollar incentive: A $1,500 signing bonus, without a probationary period. 

Pay ranges from $15.15 an hour to $17.65 an hour. Medical benefits are also included for employees. 

"We’re trying to get people that want to grow, who are committed and want to work in a good environment," said Loyd. 

No other qualifications are needed to work at the facilities. 

"We have training programs across all categories here," said Loyd. "Maintenance, QA, production, and we have management training programs."

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