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Wayne Farms looking to fill 280 positions

Depending on the department, employees at Wayne Farms can make up to $16.75 an hour.
Published: May. 4, 2021 at 4:35 PM CDT
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DOTHAN, Ala. (WTVY) - This week News 4 is giving you a closer look at local businesses looking to hire. Starting with one of the largest poultry operations in our area, Wayne Farms.

The Dothan facility has several jobs available with wages well above 15 dollars per hour. However, they’re struggling to get candidates to sign up.

Wayne Farms tells News 4 they need 1,200 employees at their facility to operate. They are currently looking to fill 280 positions to meet that number.

“Since the beginning of the pandemic applications have went down,” Neil Martin, Assistant Area Complex Manager, said.

Wayne Farms applications have decreased about 75 percent.

“We are receiving any were from 30 to 40 applications a week when we used to receive 150 a week,” Martin said.

The company is bringing in about 20 employees a week, but are losing almost double that.

“We’ve got lines out there that are not running, that are stagnant and again it causes a big issue when you’ve planned to slaughter so many birds and then all of a sudden you can’t get that done,” Martin said.

This is putting a crunch on national accounts they serve.

“We are not meeting the production that we promised to them and their business, most national account businesses, are prospering through the fast-food market therefore when we don’t supply them they run out of chicken,” Martin said.

Martin said getting people to apply has been the biggest task. Pushing the facility to reevaluate.

“In the last four weeks you know we have reviewed the wages across the board here,” Martin said. “We’ve gave a raise to everyone who is currently employed here and we also eliminated the probation area time period.”

Martin said this accomplished to things.

“You get insurance on day one and there is no pay differential from day one past 60 days that we started so that starting pay right now is at $12.50,” Martin said.

Those benefits also include 401k, paid holidays and even a medical center at the facility where employees can go on the clock if needed. Immediate family members of an employee can also access the care.

Depending on the department, employees at Wayne Farms can make up to $16.75 an hour.

“I have never been with a company that looks out for their employees like they do,” Devin Simpson, Shipping Supervisor, said.

The company is looking to staff for both shifts.

“Come and apply,” Levorne West, Retention Associate, said. “Opportunity is here, jobs are here, benefits are here.”

Including departments that have the higher pay.

“It’s hard, yes,” West said. “It is hard work, but it’s a mind thing and it’s a job we can do.”

Even when times are low, the morale is high.

“When I first get here I want to make sure my people have a smile and if I don’t see a smile, I’m going to do all I can to get a smile,” West said.

And opportunity is available.

“If you really want to push yourself to get to a higher rank it is available here because there are so many jobs and so many job openings and some people come to work and some people don’t come to work and there is a lot of turnover but if you put your mind to it you can always excel here at Wayne Farms,” Simpson said.

The company offers a year long supervisor trainee program to guide employees to grow more if they would like.

“Taking you through each sector of the business from accounting all the way through further processing, learning about the ins and outs of the poultry industry,” Shieriney Murphy, QA supervisor, said. “Then my story, once I graduated from that program I became QA supervisor, and so there are opportunities out there. Opportunities are endless here, so apply.”

Click here to view how you can apply.

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