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OK Foods, a Fort Smith based company, announced this week it had increased the base pay rate for hourly production workers in its Arkansas and Oklahoma facilities.
The pay rate increase went into effect Sunday.

“OK Foods recognizes the important role our production employees have in making our quality products,” Christy Terry, vice president of people services at OK Foods, said in a news release. “We appreciate the dedication of those who work in our production facilities and are excited to see their professionalism rewarded.”

The pay increase impacts 2,000 hourly production workers. While rates will vary among positions and facilities, the new base pay rate will be increased by 30 cents per hour. In addition to the base rate, most of OK Foods’ production team members will be eligible for an attendance incentive pay of $1 per hour and a 50 cents per hour production bonus in its plants in Heavener and Muldrow as well as the Arkansas facilities.

A company spokesman said the base pay rate was about $10 an hour, ranging from about $9.70 at some plants to higher than $10 an hour at others. Arkansas’ state minimum wage rate went up from $8.50 to $9.25 per hour Jan. 1, 2019 and is set to go up to $10 an hour Jan. 1, 2020. Arkansas voters passed Issue 5 in November 2018 to increase the state’s minimum wage from $8.50 an hour to $11 per hour by Jan. 1, 2021.

OK Foods states it provides a “competitive benefits package” to all employees and has a pay structure that increases with years of service. Recently, the company started an incentive plan that enters employees with exemplary attendance into a quarterly drawing. This month, the release noted, OK Foods’s employees Duc Vo, Manuel Gutierrez and Felipa Garmendia won a free car while Rosa Mayorga, Maria Herrera and Vikki Downs received an extra week of paid vacation.

“Our team members are the backbone of OK Foods,” OK Foods President and CEO Trent Goins said in the release. “Accordingly, we believe it is important to provide competitive compensation, and we expect that our team members will continue to grow with us as we further our mission to nourish the world.”

Goins went on to say this announcement is a “significant show of support for the OK Foods family” and “in accordance with company values, we are committed to providing competitive pay and rewarding team members’ accomplishments in the workplace.”

Goins said he expects the pay raises to attract more people in the River Valley workforce as the company expands.

OK Foods was founded more than 70 years ago and has evolved from a livestock and poultry feed manufacturer to one of the world’s largest fully-integrated chicken producers, the release adds. OK Foods was acquired by Industrias Bachoco in Celaya, Mexico, in November 2011 and has more than 4,000 team members.