A change to uncertainty

By Staff
Jason Cannon, FCT Publisher
Very few people like change. Most of the time, change represents the unknown.
Keeping everything as-is provides a sense of relief and comfort, but we all know things eventually change.
Monday it was announced that rival company Pilgrim's Pride would take over Gold Kist, Inc.
Approximately 2000 people went to work in the Russellville operations Monday morning not knowing how that may affect their future with a company that many have worked for since it opened here in 1989.
That's an awful feeling, but according to information I was given by Gold Kist Inc.'s media relations representative, local employees should see little change.
I know a lot of times that comes as little comfort. When Bruno's sold their Food Fair locations and they were renamed Southern Family Markets, all the news accounts said the stores would remain open.
But, sadly, it seems like a handful close every year. However, grocery stores are in a different market than what we're talking about here.
Many grocery stores are just trying to stay competitive with the giant, corporate mega-marts that are one stop shopping.
We're talking about production of chicken.
There are more chickens in the world than any other bird and since you can virtually eat the whole thing, chicken is one of the most used meats in the world.
Both O.B. Goolsby, Jr., Pilgrim's Pride president and chief executive officer, and John Bekkers, president and chief executive officer of Gold Kist said they were optimistic about the positive things this merger could bring to the table for both companies and their employees.
Still, Mike Shula got a vote of confidence from The University of Alabama just days before his firing.
I hope the merger is a positive thing for the county, which – from talking to the people at both companies – it sounds like it will be.
Yet, still there are countless employees that will go to work every day for who knows how long wondering if today will be the day they close the doors.
I'm no industry expert, but I don't see the demand for chicken slowing very much very soon.
And the Russellville operations are firmly established as quality facilities in helping meet the demand. I imagine that was attractive to Pilgrim's Pride and may have been of some help in sealing the deal.
Franklin County is a great county, full of hard workers and great employees but I'm sure Pilgrim's Pride already knows that.

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