BPI employees moving forward - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

BPI employees moving forward


BPI suspended operations at Waterloo and other plants after the controversy with Lean Finely Textured Beef. This week, we learned those facilities would remain closed.

While it might look like business as usual at the Tyson plant just east of Waterloo, it's now missing a key component. BPI has closed up shop and more than 200 employees are out of a job.

Michael Buckendahl was a maintenance employee at BPI. He's upset "pink slime," which is the term critics use to describe finely textured beef, could lead to the loss of so many jobs.

"We're trying to get the word that our product was good. It still is good and my kids prefer to take our product. It just hurts," said Buckendahl.

The question now is, where will these employees go from here? Some are looking for new jobs while others are trying to better themselves by going back to school.

"I'm gonna go to Hawkeye Community and try to get set up for another job and they try to hold out for a while. It's just something I'm gonna try," said Buckendahl.

BPI employees get paid until May 25th and then they can receive unemployment, but that can't make up for the good jobs they've lost.

"We're falling a little bit behind on bills, but we're trying to talk with them and we're working with them. Some of them just say, well, you have to pay us and other say we'll try to work with you, but when the money is not there anymore, it's hard to say," said Buckendahl.

We talked to Governor Branstad earlier this week about the closing of BPI. He says the state is doing everything it can to reverse the poor image that BPI has gained through the "pink slime" controversy, and he hopes the plants will be able to reopen in the future.

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