Windom plant finds buyer but employees still losing jobs

Around 1,000 workers in Windom are now left looking for what’s next after a large pork plant closed its doors on Friday.

Two months after HyLife Foods announced plans to close as it sought to sell the Windom plant, the company reached a tentative agreement on a last-minute sale of the plant to Premium Iowa Pork. However, HyLife said Friday that Premium Iowa Pork doesn’t plan to keep any of the employees at the plant.

The news comes a day after 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS learned that half of the plant’s workers — most of whom are visa contract workers from the Philippines and Mexico — were told they’re being laid off. The rest of the workers have since been notified they’re also losing their jobs.

In a statement to 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS, HyLife said it is working with the state to try to help all of the impacted employees.

“We have a successful buyer for our facility in Windom, subject to court approval. This means our operations at the plant have come to an end as of June 2, 2023. Despite significant efforts to avoid this outcome, we are told that the buyer does not intend to retain employees at the Windom plant. 

We are working closely with the Minnesota Dislocated Worker Program and will have the Rapid Response Team on-site to offer career counseling, resources, and job search support.

This has been a trying journey for all involved; we would like to close by sincerely thanking our employees. Your dedication right up to the final day, is admirable. We wish both our employees and the City of Windom all the best.”

RELATED: State officials discuss options to save Windom pork plant, 1,000 jobs

Kevin McKinnon, the temporary commissioner of the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development, told 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS on Friday that it has been working to help the Windom plant employees since HyLife’s first announcement in April and continues to try to find them connections to other potential employers. Additionally, the state also worked with HyLife and the Southwest Minnesota Private Industry Council to offer information sessions to all employees on Friday.

It isn’t immediately clear what Premium Iowa Pork plans to do with the plant. The company already owns plants in Luverne, Minn. and Hospers, Iowa.