PORTSMOUTH, Va.(WAVY) - Smithfield Foods is closing its Portsmouth plant on Friday.
"Unemployment is not really going to take care of all of us in there, " said Melissa Turner.
Turner laments the loss of her job making hot dogs and deli meats. She's worked at the plant for five years, and even though Thursday is her last full day of work, it's still business as usual.
She, among more than 120 workers, are getting laid off Friday.
"After tomorrow, we don't have any more health insurance, and they didn't give us severance pay, and I think they really did treat us real unfair cause people have been there 35 years to 40 years, and they need their health insurance," she said.
A company spokesperson told WAVY.com laid off workers are eligible for COBRA -- the government backed plan to keep health benefits.
"A lot of people don't have a job to go to. They're going to take their unemployment and roll with it," said Jermaine Fields, who also works at the Portsmouth plant. "It's bad, it's bad, it's hard to get jobs around here for one. Its bad so people are going to take it as it comes."
Fields has worked at the plant for ten years and said now he's going back to school. He starts classes next week. George Carroll, who's only worked at the Smithfield plant for a year, says he's moving to the company's other meat packing plant in Virginia.
"I enjoyed the job. It's a wonderful place, and I'm sorry it's closing, but hopefully I'll end up down in Smithfield. So, that's my plan and goal," Carroll said.
Several other workers have the same plan, as the company moves production to a facility in Kinston, North Carolina.
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