Home Money Meatpacker JBS to vaccinate workers at plants in eight states

Meatpacker JBS to vaccinate workers at plants in eight states

by Ryan


Meatpacker JBS will provide COVID-19 vaccines to 8,500 workers across its facilities in eight states, the company said on Sunday. 

The meat processing and Pilgrim’s chicken producion facilities are located in in Beardstown, Illinois; Booneville, Mississippi; Cactus, Texas; Grand Island, Nebraska; Greeley, Colorado; Hyrum, Utah; Lufkin, Texas; Marshalltown, Iowa; and Moorefield, West Virginia, the company said. 

Some locations will get a set number of vaccines every day such as the Grand Island, Nebraska facility. Other locations will provide large-scale vaccination clinics, including at the plant in Greeley, Colorado, the company said.

“We have been focused on doing everything we can to prioritize our essential workforce in state vaccination plans across the country,” Andre Nogueira, chief executive officer, JBS USA, said in a statement. 

Around 700 workers at a Beardstown, Illinois, pork production plant who got a first dose of the vaccine this month will receive the second dose of the vaccine in March, the company said. 

JBS, the world’s largest meat processor and second largest food company,  said in January it would offer a $100 bonus to workers who receive the COVID-19 vaccine.

Meatpacking plants have been among the most devastating workplaces during the coronavirus pandemic, with the cramped working conditions and lack of consequential federal oversight leading to thousands of COVID-19 infections and hundreds of deaths.  Big-name meat industry giants like Tyson, JBS, and Smithfield have all faced lawsuits pertaining to the pandemic.

Last year, the JBS plant in Greely became the largest COVID-19 outbreak in the Rocky Mountain State, with the Colorado Department of Health listing 291 confirmed cases and six deaths there as of Sept. 23.

On February 1, the House Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis launched an investigation into COVID-19 infections and the outbreaks in meatpacking plants that resulted in the deaths of 250 workers .

Earlier this month, Minnesota lawmakers and members of the state’s United Food and Commercial Workers Union introduced new workplace safety legislation aimed at protecting workers at meatpacking and food processing plants.

The legislation would require companies to provide workers a paid leave to recover from illness or injury or care for a sick family member, in addition to an adequate break time for workers to sanitize and wash their hands and disinfect touched surfaces, working stations, and training rooms.

The UFCW in Minnesota didn’t respond to Insider’s request for immediate comment. 

“Every day, me and my coworkers put our lives on the line when we go to work,” union member and JBS worker Antonio Jimenez said in a union news release. “I was here at the plant when the COVID-19 outbreak happened. No one ever wants that to happen again. This legislation is about safety, not just about me, but for all the meatpacking workers in the state.”

JBS USA, the US arm of Brazilian meatpacker JBS SA, spent $600 million to protect its workers from COVID-19, a company spokesperson told Insider on Sunday. Protection efforts include offering unlimited PPE, constructing permanent physical barriers, installing ventilation systems in all facilities, among others.

The company conducted over 50,000 surveillance tests of asymptomatic workers to date, the spokesperson said. Vulnerable workers were removed but received full pay and benefits.



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