Reporting Andrea Menniti
PATTERSON (CBS13) – It’s the final day on the job for hundreds of workers in Stanislaus County.
Patterson Vegetable Company will stop production after more than 60 years. Workers say it’s a somber day as they clock in for the last time.
“I’ve been here since I was 22 and single,” said employee Dan Evans.
Hired 31 years ago, Patterson Vegetable Company was Dan Evans’ first and only employer.
Once he’s handed his final paycheck at the end of Friday, he will join thousands of unemployed Stanislaus County workers.
“I don’t know, I have no idea, go on unemployment for a little while because out here it really tough,” said Evans.
The vegetable processing plant has stood tall in the heart of downtown Patterson for more than six decades.
Its closure leaves about 300 year round workers and another 600 seasonal without a job.
It’s a blow to an area with an unemployment rate of more than 15 percent.
“A lot of people are saddened, we don’t know what’s going to happen with our families,” said employee Daniel Venezuela.
The hope for some workers is that they will land a job at the new Amazon distribution center once it opens next year.
Right now construction crews are prepping land where the one million square foot facility will bring at least a thousand jobs.
Venezuela is eager to apply for positions.
“We’ve been talking about that, we are hoping. I’m hoping too. I’m going to apply,” said Venezuela.
Workers say the plant shuts down Friday but several people will remain on hand through Sunday to permanently close the facility.
In addition to the Patterson Vegetable Company job losses, the CVS distribution center in town recently announced it’s laying off 100 workers.