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September 13, 2012 09:56 PM

City, Former Employees Talk About BPI Lawsuit

Sioux Falls, SD

The controversy over BPI's so-called 'pink slime' has stretched to the city government in South Sioux City, NE where city leaders say the strain on a top employer has them feeling the pain too.

“It's a serious issue to the families that lost their jobs; to a good company that cared about the community and the area,” South Sioux City administrator Land Hedquist said.

Hedquist says even though the BPI plant in his city continues operation, work there is noticeably less. Shifts are cut and workers are hurting.

“To see those shut down and minimized is really devastating for our area,” Hedquist said.

Hedquist stands by the company and their whopping $1 billion lawsuit, pointing to the same impeccable safety records and passed USDA inspections as company officials.

And former employees like Oscar Gomez agree.

“That was the toughest part, that you try and clear it up, but by that time it was too late,” Gomez said.

Gomez worked in training compliance for 14 months before his corporate job was cut.

“Going to work and not knowing if you're going to have a job the next day was probably the toughest thing you can actually do at a job,” he said.

With so many cuts made in the past year, Gomez is not alone, as hundreds of former workers from the factory floor to the Dakota Dunes corporate offices are now hunting for jobs. Many of them like him still standing in their former employer's corner. 

“I'm 100 percent behind them,” Gomez said. “Hopefully this comes out in a good result for them.”

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