Cargill employees stunned by Milwaukee plant closure

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by Priscilla Luong

MILWAUKEE-- Richard Rice says he never thought after 29 years and 11 months with the same company, he would lose his job. 

"I don't know what I'm going to do now," he said, shaking, "this is just some shocking news all of the sudden."

Rice still remembers his first day working at Cargill.

"I started September 4, 1984," he recalled.

Next month would have marked Rice's 30th anniversary at the Milwaukee beef harvesting plant.

"They had it on the board that we were supposed to work Saturday this week," said Rice.

Rice says he was blindsided by Wednesday's announcement at the end of his shift.

"Just now, one hour notice," said Rice, stunned, "that's no 60 days there, 60-minutes!"

Rice is just one out of an estimated 600 employees who will lose their job when the plant closes on August 1.

"It was wrong for them to inform us like this," said Charles Harris, who also lost his job at Cargill.

Charles Harris has worked at Cargill for four years.  Sadly for Harris, this situation is a familiar one.

"This is the third company I've been with that's closed, so I'm prepared," he explained.

Harris says his part-time job outside of Cargill will become a full-time position.

"My other boss told me if Cargill ever closes, I could go work for them," said Harris.

Charles Harris is one of the luckier employees, but for many others, like Rice, the future is still uncertain.

"I'm going to have to think on it a little bit tonight," said Rice.

Cargill will hold a job fair for displaced employees on August 4.  Many employees CBS 58 spoke with said they will be there, but for Rice and his family, Milwaukee is home.  Rice says his family would not relocate for another opportunity.  

 

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