Sanderson Farms holding jobs fairs for hourly workers

LUMBERTON — Sanderson Farms Inc. will hold a job fair this week to hire hourly employees for a chicken processing plant it is building near St. Pauls.

The job fair will be held Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday at Holiday Inn in Lumberton, with sessions beginning at 10 a.m., 1 p.m. and 6 p.m. each day.

Bob “Pic” Billingsley, the company’s director of development and engineering, said 2,500 people attended a recent job fair in Hoke County, and the company expects a good turnout in Lumberton. The job fair will include a screening and interview process and information sessions on the company.

Sanderson Farms Inc. plans to hire about 1,000 employees, and has already begun to hire for salaried positions. The company is also building a hatchery in Lumberton.

So far, Robeson County has provided what the Mississippi poultry company expected, Billingsley said, “an abundant labor force in Robeson County,of good people.”

Billingsley said entry-level pay for line operators is $11.50 per hour, though there are upgraded positions as well.

According to a statement from the company, along with a competitive starting wage, employees who have been employed with Sanderson Farms for three months or longer are eligible for wage increases based on their tenure with the company. Employees receive a benefits package, including medical coverage for individuals and families, free basic life insurance, affordable dental and vision insurance, as well as prescription costs of $15 or less.

The benefits package also includes a 401(k) plan and employee stock ownership plan that employees are eligible for after one year of employment. Sanderson Farms contributes to the employee stock ownership plan at no cost to the employee. In addition to eight paid holidays, employees are eligible to earn up to 20 days of paid vacation time based on length of employment. Sanderson Farms employees are also eligible for continuing education programs such as tuition reimbursement after one year of employment.

Construction of the $115 million processing plant in St. Pauls and the $17 million hatchery just east of Lumberton are “right on time,” Billingsley said.

Salaried management will move into the hatchery in September and eggs will be set in October. Processing training will begin on a limited basis in November and “operations will begin in earnest in January,” Billingsley said.

The plant, located on N.C. 20 near St. Pauls, will process about 1.25 million chickens a week.

By Juanita Lagrone

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Reach Juanita Lagrone at [email protected] or 910-416-5865.

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