Iowa Lawmakers Urged to Extend Unemployment Benefits for Tyson Plant Workers

In light of the upcoming closure of a Tyson Foods Inc. pork plant in Perry, Iowa, state lawmakers are advocating for an extension of unemployment benefits for affected workers. The closure, which will result in the loss of nearly 1,300 jobs, has prompted Democratic legislators to call for a reconsideration of the duration of unemployment benefits.

Democratic leaders are urging their Republican counterparts to revisit a decision made in 2022 to reduce unemployment benefits for plant workers from 39 weeks to 26 weeks. While no formal bill has been introduced yet, Senate Minority Leader Pam Jochum emphasized the necessity of extending benefits, stating that it is “simply the right thing to do.” She called upon Republican leaders in the Senate to introduce a bill to make this extension a reality.

State Senator Sarah Trone Garriott highlighted the ripple effects of the plant closure, noting its impact on workers’ spouses, children, and the local school district. Budget cuts resulting from the closure are expected to affect all students in the district.

Meanwhile, Tyson Foods is offering affected workers in Perry opportunities to apply for positions at the company’s other facilities in the state. Additionally, the Iowa Workforce Development office is deploying its new IowaWORKS Mobile Workforce Center to assist residents in finding new job opportunities before the plant shuts down.