Five years after losing their jobs, nearly 200 local workers could soon get some financial help.
Those workers lost their jobs at Beef Products Incorporated in 2012 during the “pink slime” controversy.
BPI sued ABC News in 2012 for a billion dollars, claiming the network reports that labeled its “lean finely textured beef” as “pink slime” hurt its business.
The case was settled in June 2017. Now, the founders of the company are divvying-up millions of dollars between former employees and affected communities.
It has been a long time coming, but soon around 750 BPI employees, who officials said lost their jobs in Amarillo, Kansas, and Iowa, could be getting some extra cash.
“The Roth family, who are the owners of Beef Products Inc., BPI Technology Inc., and Freezing Machines Inc.; the three companies that were involved, have established the fund, $10 million,” said Rick Jochum, Corporate Administrator for Been Products Inc and BPI Technology.
There is no total for exactly how much they will get individually, but before employees or communities can get the money there are some guidelines needed.
For example, length of employment at BPI, if former employees were able to get unemployment benefits, and the types of benefits.
“Really looking to try to determine what was the actual impact on individuals as a result of the loss of employment and trying to match up the funds as best as possible, where there’s a need,” added Jochum.
Jochum told us they are in the very early planning stages when it comes to making an application.
He hopes to be able to send out information directly to former employees within the next two weeks.
“Whether it’s an online application or a physical application that they would need to fill out to start reconnecting with us so that we can determine the needs and provide the benefits,” said Jochum.
Jochum told us out of the more than 700 BPI employees who were laid off in the three plants, 180 workers lost their jobs in Amarillo.
Here is some good news for the local job market. Jochum told us they plan to reopen their Amarillo plant and that they will do the same in Kansas.
There is no set timeline for the reopening of the two plants.
When it comes to how much of the $10 million is from the whole settlement amount, we will never know.
Jochum said the financial terms of the settlement are confidential.