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California’s Smithfield Foods Meatpacking Plant in Vernon Is Closing

After I arrived earlier than daybreak on the pork processing plant, I may see lights from the downtown Los Angeles skyline flickering a couple of miles to the north. It was a type of heavy, gloomy mornings — one with a thick marine layer that so many people Southern Californians know to anticipate 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 coated state politics and coverage at The Denver Publish, 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 numerous and dynamic a part of the nation and its financial challenges.

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

At present I printed an article that captures the debate over ​the closing​ and whom is guilty — ​the corporate or California?

Smithfield officers advised me that escalating prices of doing enterprise in California led to their determination. State leaders say that rivalry doesn’t match the fact, noting that California’s financial progress 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 large 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 % of the workers on the plant are Latino — a mixture of immigrants and first-generation native-born. Most are older than 50.

Outdoors, I visited with Teresa Robles, 57, who has labored right here since 2018. She makes $17.85 an hour slicing 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 solutions,” Robles advised me, blinking again tears.

The manufacturing unit 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 present’s journey tip comes from Steve Mullen, who recommends a basic Los Angeles drive:

“If you would like an distinctive view of the ocean, drive south from Santa Monica and if you get to the hills main as much as the Palisades, do your compulsory rubber necking out the precise aspect of your automotive for spectacular views of the SoCal shoreline. You’ll be trying north from the Palisades with Redondo, Hermosa, Manhattan, and Venice/Santa Monica seashores all in view on the sting of a sandy crescent holding again the good Pacific Ocean. That is the gold coast of California and the seashores the place browsing, seashore BBQs and the Seaside Boys hail from.”

Inform us about your favourite locations to go to in California. E mail your recommendations to We’ll be sharing extra in upcoming editions of the publication.

A fortunate Californian simply received the lottery — actually.

A Mega Thousands and thousands ticket price $4.2 million was offered at a Vons in northeast Fresno, ABC 30 reports. 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 today’s Mini Crossword, and a clue: Animal image of Most cancers (4 letters).

Soumya Karlamangla, Briana Scalia and Jack Kramer contributed to California At present. You may attain the workforce at

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