By ELIZABETH DONALD
Caseyville, IL – State leaders are celebrating the expansion of the Tyson Foods plant here, a project that is expected to bring hundreds of new jobs to the Metro-East.
Eric Oller, executive secretary-treasurer of the Southwestern Illinois Building & Construction Trades Council, said the expansion work is being done by union contractors, creating thousands of hours of work for area building trades.
The plant, originally owned by AdvancePierre, was acquired by that company’s merger with Tyson in 2017, and currently employs 293 people with an estimated economic impact of $10 million in wages. Starting pay at Tyson is at least $21 an hour, according to the company’s statement.
The expansion will add 170,000 square feet, seven new production lines and 250 more jobs to the plant, not including construction jobs created by the expansion. Most of Tyson’s food workers are represented by the United Food and Commercial Workers union, though it could not be immediately determined if Caseyville’s plant is represented.
‘A BOON FOR OUR REGION’
Among those celebrating the groundbreaking in Caseyville were state Rep. Jay Hoffman (D-Swansea) and Illinois Gov. JB Pritzker.
“We’re thrilled to celebrate the expansion of our Caseyville prepared foods plant, creating new job opportunities for those in the community and keeping ease and efficiency in mind for our current team members,” said Noelle O’Mara, president of prepared foods at Tyson. “With automated warehousing and robotics at the heart of the project, we’re looking forward to its full completion.
Hoffman called the project “a boon for our region.”
“It’s going to create construction jobs, permanent jobs at the plant, as well as spur increased economic development for our area,” Hoffman said. “It’s a reflection of the work we’ve done in Springfield and locally to support Illinois businesses and the job creation that comes with it.”
‘HIGHLY TALENTED WORKFORCE’
Pritzker emphasized that the project was assisted by the state EDGE credit program, (Economic Development for a Growing Economy). It’s a tax credit that will provide incentives to Tyson tied to an investment of at least $130 million and 220 jobs.
“Tyson’s decision to expand in Illinois speaks to our strengths in manufacturing, our world-class infrastructure, and our abundant – and highly talented – workforce,” Pritzker said.
The $180 million expansion project will add more prepared foods to the Tyson plant’s operations, which already expanded in 2020 with three new lines, 100 jobs and $27 million invested. Food items produced at the plant will include Hillshire Farm and Jimmy Dean branded projects.
Sylvia Garcia, director of the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity, said the expansion will benefit the Caseyville community and the entire Metro-East. “Tyson’s decision to expand operations in Illinois further solidifies our state’s reputation as a top food manufacturing powerhouse,” she said.
The expansion project is expected to be completed in the summer of 2023.