“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.
By Max Bryan, Times Record
The Saturday morning heat didn’t keep hundreds of families in need from driving to Kay Rodgers Park to have their vehicles loaded with food and other necessities.
“Antioch after the Flood,” put on by Antioch for Youth and Family, served food to approximately 2,092 people in 601 families for three hours at the Kay Rodgers Park Expo Center. While families impacted by the 500-year Arkansas River flood two months ago were the focus of the event, volunteers served anyone who needed assistance.
“What we’re doing is recovery work,” said Antioch Marketing Director Ken Kupchick. “The families who have been hurt by this will be hurting for more than a year.”
The Arkansas River flood in late May and early June affected approximately 500 homes and 1,000 residents in Fort Smith, according to city estimates. It also submerged the entire town of Moffett just inside Oklahoma.
Antioch Director Charolette Tidwell said she was prompted to hold the event after touring flood damage in Moffett, which was evacuated during the flood. Tidwell also said she wanted to address the ever-present need for children in Fort Smith to have nutritious food, especially while school is out.
Approximately 21.5 percent of families who were served food at the event said they were directly impacted by the flood, according to Antioch numbers. Many were from Moffett and Fort Smith. About 29.9 percent of families who received food at the event had previously sought food assistance from Antioch.
“It’s everybody who’s coming through,” Tidwell said.
The event, held from 9 a.m.-noon at the park, drew volunteers to load vehicles with chicken, fruits, vegetables, cereal, cleaning supplies and more. They were supplied by OK Foods, Walmart and the River Valley Regional Food Bank.
By Miranda Daily
On June 3rd, an unfamiliar scene unfolded in the lobby of the OK Foods Corporate office: twelve college students from across the state of Arkansas were exchanging names and majors, patiently waiting to start the first day of their summer internship.
During their 10-week paid internship, these interns will work in Live Production, Agribusiness/Processing Plant Operations, Research & Development, Sales/Marketing, Supply Chain, Accounting, and Management Information Systems.
OK Foods looks for interns who are ambitious, take initiative, and desire a full-time career with the company after graduation. The summer interns said they sought after an internship that would give them real-world experience close to home.
“This program is a great opportunity for professional development. I witness our interns develop both professionally and personally,” Amy Douglas, Human Resource Services Manager, said.
Though no two days are ever the same at OK Foods, each intern has their own daily tasks to perform. Accounting intern, Elizabeth Martinez, works on pay roll, cost accounting and SOX testing. Reed Williams, the Research and Development intern, tests and controls food samples to collect data. Sales intern, Keesler Nye, gathers sales data to create spreadsheets for the sales team.
“I really appreciate that the sales team is like one big family,” Nye said. “And the free coffee is a great bonus too.”
Of the twelve, four interns signed with OK Foods after being chosen by the Fort Smith Chamber of Commerce to work for companies across the city. One of the interns selected by the Fort Smith Chamber of Commerce, Natalie Chilton, is a recent graduate of Southside High School and will attend the University of Arkansas-Fort Smith in the fall.