NEBRASKA CITY – One of the 40 workers told they would be laid off Jan. 4 with the closing of the Diversified Foods and Seasonings in Nebraska City says he has since been fired for talking to News Channel Nebraska about the situation.
News Channel Nebraska called Bill Dawson on telephone Thursday about employee reaction. Dawson said many of the workers were upset because the news came so close to Christmas.
When he returned to work on Friday, he said he was confronted by his manager who repeatedly used bad language.
Dawson: “Are you … getting hold of the media?
I said, well I talked to them.
He said, well what do you think you’re trying to prove?
I said nothing, I think it’s news.
Dawson: “He said it’s not … news. The news doesn’t care anything about this, but one day only. If you are going to get a hold of the media, you are going to … punch out. And then when you come back you will … punch out again.”
Dawson said 10 minutes later he was called to the office and fired.
Dawson: “I actually felt like I was intimated. There would have been a time when I would’ve been almost afraid. I’m an older person now. I didn’t believe he would honestly come around the desk and come at me. I was a little bit leery, but I didn’t feel that. I’ve never seen anybody in that position that out of control.”
Dawson said his comments to the media were intended to describe workers’ feelings about receiving the news right before Christmas.
Dawson: “It’s not retaliation. I’m not mad, glad or sad really. I’m pretty melancholy about it. I’ve accepted it. God isn’t going to give me anything more than I can handle and this is something I can. I’ve nothing against the company. I just thought it was news. Even though they apparently didn’t and said I should not visit with the media at all.”
Dawson said his concerns are for his co-workers and the people who have an investment in the community.
Dawson: “I asked my, Annette, she said she still loves me. And they are okay. They back me. I’ve got a great, strong family behind me and we’ve got Christmas. It’s not going to change Christmas.”
A Louisiana Economic Development organization issues a press release today saying Diversified Foods is expanding its facility near Madisonville and creating 44 new jobs there.