Nebraska City food plant to close, eliminating over 40 jobs

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OMAHA, Neb. — More than 40 employees of a Nebraska City food manufacturer will lose their jobs right after the holiday season. The announcement of the closure of Diversified Foods came as a surprise to many.

The Diversified Foods plant, which makes frozen and refrigerated food pouches, has been a part of the city for 11 years.

Bill Dawson, who was put on the street this morning after he had been employed at Diversified Foods for two years, said he was fired because he talked to the media about the plant closing.

“They said it wasn’t news, and my plant manager lost control on me — he screamed at me, used the ‘F’ word,” Dawson said.

“About 10 minutes later, (I) got called into the office, and they said ‘We’re going to let you go,’” he said.

All of the plant's employees will be let go Jan. 4.

According to a statement issued by the company, the state of Louisiana has offered incentive money to expand operations there.

City officials said they knew nothing about the company’s plan to move out of Nebraska City.

“(A) reporter ask, ‘Can you talk about how you communicated with them? Did you guys know about this? Did they talk to you, tell you they were going to leave?’ No. No, they had not informed us,” said Grayson Path, Nebraska City administrator. “We had communication with them in the past, (but) there were always rumors.”

Dawson now knows those rumors were true, and said some of his coworkers took the news hard.

“There were tears from some of the ladies,” he said. “A young guy got mad and slammed his helmet — thought he was going to walk out. But it’s so close to Christmas — people have already spent their money. And they knew about this — they could have let us know, and we could have saved a little money.”

Nebraska City officials said there is a robust job market, but that still their thoughts are with the employees of Diversified Foods. Officials also said they will do everything they can to help the employees and their families.