Tyson Foods Latest Large Business to Flee Chicago Amid Crime Wave
By: Bryan Jung
Chicago has faced a number of corporate departures in recent months, almost three years into the city’s unprecedented crime wave.
Shootings, robberies, and other forms of violence have skyrocketed to levels not seen in decades, after Lightfoot became mayor in 2019.
Crime has risen in every category throughout Chicago, a fact which many local businesses are taking into consideration when looking to the future.
Tyson, the parent company of Jimmy Dean and Ball Park products, employs about 137,000 workers worldwide.
The meatpacking company announced that it will relocate around 1,000 corporate staffers from three locations in the Chicago area and South Dakota to its headquarters in Springdale, Arkansas, early next year.
Two of the offices are located in downtown Chicago and in Downers Grove, a nearby suburb. Tyson CEO Donny King released, on Oct. 5, a press statement detailing the decision.
“Bringing our talented corporate team members and businesses together under one roof unlocks greater opportunities to share perspectives and ideas, while also enabling us to act quickly to solve problems and provide the innovative products and solutions that our customers deserve and value,” said King.
King did not cite any further reasons for the sudden move, which is another blow to the Windy City’s crime-afflicted image.
He said that consolidating the three offices will allow for closer employee collaboration and that no layoffs will accompany the shift.
Tyson said it will expand and remodel its headquarters in Arkansas to accommodate its staffers.
The announcement follows some recent changes in management, such as the appointment of John Tyson, the great-grandson of the company’s founder, as its chief financial officer.
An Exodus of American Corporations from the Windy City
Boeing said in May that it would move its headquarters from Chicago to Arlington, Virginia, while Caterpillar said it was moving its headquarters from the Chicago suburbs to Texas in June.
Boeing moved from Seattle to Chicago in 2001.
In a speech to the Economic Club of Chicago in September, McDonald’s CEO Chris Kempczinski admitted that he often gets offers from mayors and governors trying to get him to move the company’s headquarters out of Chicago.
McDonald’s, which returned to entrepreneur Ray Kroc’s hometown of Chicago in 2018, opened a $250 million headquarters in the city after a 47-year absence.
Kempczinski said that the fast-food chain has no plans to leave, but it was struggling with crime and homelessness in its Chicago restaurants.
He slammed the city’s crime situation, saying that it is “seeping into every corner of our city,” and asked attendees, “What’s going on in Chicago?”
“While it may wound our civic pride to hear it, there is a general sense out there that our city is in crisis,” said McDonald’s CEO.
“We have violent crime that’s happening in our restaurants … We’re seeing homelessness issues in our restaurants. We’re having drug overdoses that are happening in our restaurants.”
“So we see in our restaurants, every single day, what’s happening in society at large.” He also reported that it was increasingly difficult for the company to recruit employees in the crime-ridden city due to lack of safety.
Meanwhile, Ken Griffin, CEO of Citadel and a prominent Chicago billionaire investor and a vocal critic of Illinois’s governor, J.B. Pritzker, recently moved his hedge fund to Miami, Florida, due to the crime rates in Chicago.
Griffen bought a new record-breaking $106.9 million waterfront headquarters in Miami upon announcing his plan to move his 1,000-member team to Florida, after three decades in Illinois.
“If people aren’t safe here, they’re not going to live here,” Griffin told The Wall Street Journal in April.
“I’ve had multiple colleagues mugged at gunpoint. I’ve had a colleague stabbed on the way to work. Countless issues of burglary. I mean, that’s a really difficult backdrop with which to draw talent to your city from.”
Many small-businesses owners are also fleeing the area.
Gary Rabine, founder of the Rabine Group and owner of 13 businesses, for example, told Fox News last month that crime was the main factor behind his decision to move his rod-paving business out of town.
“We would do thousands of jobs a year in the city, but as we got robbed more, my people operating rollers and pavers got robbed, our equipment would get stolen in broad daylight, and there would usually be a gun involved, and it got expensive and it got dangerous,” said Rabine.
He told Fox that rising crime has led to increases in both security costs and insurance rates, and “what happened eventually is we said enough is enough.”
“We stopped doing work down there, we stopped doing work for the gas company, the electric company, the south side, the west side, and eventually all over Chicago. Those companies now work in other places. They work over the border in Wisconsin, the outer suburbs of Chicago, where they feel safer.”
Chicago Crime and Refunding the Police
Crime in Chicago has been out of control since the Black Lives Matter riots and the defund the police movement back in 2020, with the city recording 797 murders in 2021 alone, the worse in a quarter century.
Violence in the Windy City has increased over the past decade, but is reaching its peak under Lightfoot’s watch. Her far-left policies have been slammed by critics across the country, who said that they encourage more crime.
The Chicago Police Department Chief of Detectives, Eugene Roy, told Fox News a few months ago that the city government had engaged in a “stealth defunding” of law enforcement by failing to provide adequate resources and staffing to the department as officers leave or retire.
According to the latest statistics from the Chicago Police Department, crime is still on the rise in Chicago, after massive spikes in 2020–21.
Murders are up 32 percent since 2019, well before the pandemic inspired a surge in crime, with 425 killings recorded since the start of 2021, compared to the 319 seen in 2019.
Lightfoot slashed $59 million from her city’s police budget in 2020, after she publicly supported the “defund the police movement” in the wake of the death of George Floyd.
She then suddenly announced her opposition to that policy in 2021, after crime shot through the roof and the shocking assassination of Chicago police officer Ella French in August 2021, which outraged her police department.
This forced Lightfoot to unveil a new plan to, ironically, “refund the police.”
Source: The Epoch News