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Aberdeen beef plant lays off 50 workers

ABERDEEN (AP) -- At least 50 workers at the embattled Northern Beef Packers plant in Aberdeen were laid off from their jobs on Wednesday.

All the employees worked on the killing floor or in the fabrication and meat processing department and were hourly, the American News reported. Dan Thielsen, Department of Labor manager, said at least 50 workers from the plant had been to the Labor office by Wednesday afternoon to file unemployment claims and look for jobs.

Several employees said Northern Beef Packers has not paid them in more than two weeks.

"They kept saying they were going to pay us, but they haven't," said Obono Alual, who has worked on the slaughter line.

Company officials have not commented on the layoffs.

Northern Beef Packers filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection on Friday. The slaughter plant laid off 108 of its 420 workers in April because of a lack of working capital.

The plant started up last fall after years of delays that included financial problems, lawsuits and flooding. Officials had hoped to eventually process 1,500 cattle a day from the Dakotas, Nebraska, Iowa and Minnesota.