California’s Smithfield Foods Meatpacking Plant in Vernon Is Closing

After I arrived earlier than daybreak on the pork processing plant, I might see lights from the downtown Los Angeles skyline flickering a number of miles to the north. It was a kind of heavy, gloomy mornings — one with a thick marine layer that so many people Southern Californians know to count on within the summertime.

I’m not new to the area, however I’m new to The New York Occasions. I joined the paper in June after spending eight years at The Los Angeles Occasions, the place I labored as a nationwide correspondent. Earlier than that, I lined state politics and coverage at The Denver Submit, a newspaper I grew up studying as a Colorado native.

Now, as an economics correspondent for The Occasions, based mostly in Los Angeles, I’ll be roving the West and writing about this various and dynamic a part of the nation and its financial challenges.

So once I learn that Smithfield Foods would shut an iconic meatpacking plant in Vernon — an industrial metropolis not removed from downtown Los Angeles — and that roughly 1,800 individuals would lose their jobs, I stored coming again to 2 questions: Why was it crucial, and what’s going to occur to the employees?

At this time I revealed an article that captures the controversy over ​the closing​ and whom is responsible — ​the corporate or California?

Smithfield officers instructed me that escalating prices of doing enterprise in California led to their choice. State leaders say that competition doesn’t match the truth, noting that California’s financial development outpaced the nation’s and that the state remained the tech capital of the nation.

The Smithfield plant, related to the Farmer John model, dates again to 1931 and is thought for its enormous mural depicting a pastoral rural panorama that transports you removed from the concrete corridors of Vernon. For many years, Farmer John produced the extensively well-known Dodger Canine.

Greater than 80 p.c of the workers on the plant are Latino — a mixture of immigrants and first-generation native-born. Most are older than 50.

Exterior, I visited with Teresa Robles, 57, who has labored right here since 2018. She makes $17.85 an hour reducing tripe most days.

She knew the historical past of the plant, and when whispers began in early June that it will shut, she shortly grew involved. She questioned if anybody would provide her a dependable job at her age, and whether or not she would ever discover work at a comparable wage.

“They’re kicking us out with no answers,” Robles instructed me, blinking again tears.

The manufacturing facility is scheduled to shut early subsequent 12 months. The employees’ union says it’s looking for new jobs for its members and a purchaser for the plant. I’ll be watching what occurs subsequent.

Kurtis Lee is an economics correspondent for The Occasions, based mostly in Los Angeles.


At this time’s journey tip comes from Steve Mullen, who recommends a traditional Los Angeles drive:

“If you want an exceptional view of the ocean, drive south from Santa Monica and when you get to the hills leading up to the Palisades, do your obligatory rubber necking out the right side of your car for spectacular views of the SoCal coastline. You’ll be looking north from the Palisades with Redondo, Hermosa, Manhattan, and Venice/Santa Monica beaches all in view on the edge of a sandy crescent holding back the great Pacific Ocean. This is the gold coast of California and the beaches where surfing, beach BBQs and the Beach Boys hail from.”

Inform us about your favourite locations to go to in California. E-mail your solutions to CAtoday@nytimes.com. We’ll be sharing extra in upcoming editions of the publication.

A fortunate Californian simply received the lottery — actually.

A Mega Hundreds of thousands ticket price $4.2 million was bought at a Vons in northeast Fresno, ABC 30 stories. It was the one ticket in California that matched all 5 numbers drawn on Friday. (It didn’t, nevertheless, match the mega ball price $1.28 billion.)


Thanks for studying. We’ll be again tomorrow.

P.S. Right here’s at this time’s Mini Crossword, and a clue: Animal image of Most cancers (4 letters).

Soumya Karlamangla, Briana Scalia and Jack Kramer contributed to California At this time. You may attain the crew at CAtoday@nytimes.com.

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