Siskiyou County Butcher Shop Could Leave 80 Unemployed
The abrupt shutdown of Belcampo Meat Co.’s operations left nearly 40 employees at its Siskiyou County butcher’s shop unemployed.
And by the end of the year, that number is expected to climb to 80, according to an email Siskiyou County Supervisor Ed Valenzuela said he received from the company.
âButchering is my main concern because these are good jobs that all of a suddenâ are gone, said Valenzuela. âI’ll tell you, I was taken aback.
“The hardest thing you can do is try to react on the fly.”
The demise of the sustainable premium meat company, which is headquartered in Oakland but also owns a 30,000-acre ranch in the Siskiyou County community in Gazelle, comes after allegations surfaced last spring according to which the company mislabeled its meat.
Eater LA reported in early June that âseveral former employees and one current employee allege that Belcampo has not been completely honest about its sourcing, and that it has mislabelled products for over a year in Santa Monica and (Los Angeles) West Third Street Locations. “
Belcampo also had outlets in the San Francisco Bay Area.
How Belcampo Farms started
The company on its website says its e-commerce, retail and restaurant operations have been shut down.
âWe would like to thank you for supporting our business. You have inspired us to create delicious products that reflect our concern for our global environment. We are grateful that you have joined us on this journey, âthe statement read.
Belcampo was founded in 2011 by Anya Fernald and Todd Robinson, an angel investor who provided over $ 20 million in start-up capital. Robinson bought the property in Siskiyou County and Fernald worked with him to come up with an idea to make it profitable and viable while growing the sustainable food movement.
Also in 2011, Belcampo inaugurated its meat processing plant in Montague.
The SMART Workforce Center, which has an office in Siskiyou County, informs displaced employees of Belcampo of the services and resources available to help them find work.
These include assistance in applying for unemployment benefits, resettlement assistance, job placement and paid training programs.
âIt can be a tough time when someone loses their job, especially suddenly,â said Wendy Zanotelli, CEO of SMART. âWe can pay for education; we can pay for on-the-job training. â¦ We can take a lot of the financial burden off them and pay for these educational services.
Former Belcampo employees can visit the SMART office at 582 Main St. in Weed, call 530-657-0139 or email [email protected]
Could the farm reopen under a new name?
The SMART Workforce Center received a WARN notice from Belcampo regarding the shutdown on October 18, Zanotelli said.
âThe doors were locked the next day at the butcher’s shop,â she said. âI think the community was shocked. It happened quite quickly and there wasn’t a lot of one-on-one. “
The Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act requires employers to provide notification 60 calendar days before plant closures and mass layoffs.
Zanotelli was unsure whether employees were given more than one notice. But she said there are several factors to consider.
“Only certain employers are subject to WARN’s requirements, although employers who are not subject to it can and sometimes submit notices as a courtesy,” she said in a follow-up email. âWARN notices are sometimes delayed to reach local labor boards and local suppliers, like SMART. “
Governor Gavin Newsom had suspended the WARN notification requirement amid the COVID-19 pandemic. But the executive decree authorizing the temporary suspension ended on July 1, 2021.
Zanotelli said Belcampo’s human resources department has been responsive.
âWhat it sounds like, their plan is to reopen the farm and rename it,â she said.
Although Belcampo’s Siskiyou County operations are not in his district, supervisor Valenzuela said the loss of jobs would hurt.
“It will affect the whole county,” he said.
Valenzuela did not know how much money the butcher workers were making.
âIt’s the only thing. If I had had an idea in advance, I would have asked these kinds of questions, âsaid Valenzuela.
A woman who answered the phone at the Montague butcher on Monday afternoon addressed questions to the company’s head office.
Belcampo did not respond to an email seeking comment prior to the publication of this article.
David Benda covers business, development and everything else for the USA TODAY network in Redding. He also writes the weekly column “Buzz on the Street”. He is part of a team of dedicated journalists who investigate wrongdoing, cover the latest news and tell other stories about your community. Join him on Twitter @DavidBenda_RS or by phone at 1-530-225-8219. To support and support this work, please register today.