WORTHINGTON — The United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) Local 663, Minnesota’s largest meatpacking union, released a statement Sunday in response to news that JBS’s Worthington plant will reopen Wednesday, May 6. The reopening follows President Trump taking executive action to mandate that meatpacking and poultry plants remain open during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“The best way to protect our food supply is to protect Minnesota’s meatpacking workers by having clear safety standards at JBS," UFCW Local 663 President Matt Utecht said. "While JBS was shut down, our union has been hard at work ensuring that reopening the plant involves a commitment to enhanced safety guidelines for a safe reopening of the Worthington plant. Workers will return to enforced social distancing in the plant and common areas, frequent and thorough disinfecting, and daily communication so they are kept updated.
“We will also continue to collaborate with the company, and most importantly, the workers, who are the heart and soul of our union, to make sure these guidelines are being followed and that workers feel safe," Utecht added.
"The work we do helps supply food to millions of people," UFCW Local 663 Member and JBS employee Yolanda Martinez added. "It was essential before the pandemic, and it is especially essential now. But in order for us to go back to work, we need to feel safe doing our jobs. The new guidelines are a step in the right direction, and I am going to do my part to make sure worker safety is put first.”
The new guidelines, included in the UFCW release, include:
* Wiping Crew (10/shift) - continually wipe lockers, hand rails, doors, door knobs, tables, chairs, lunchracks, common areas.
* Pump Spraying Hallways, Floors, Bathrooms, and Locker Rooms with Pure, Quat, & Bleach
* Person stationed at restrooms - wipes down stalls continuously after people finish
* Deep Cleaning Crew on the weekends - disinfecting all common areas
* New chemical in use from Packers called PURE to use for disinfecting - recommended by CDC-24 Hour Residual
* New Hand soap purchased - E3 rated soap, more of a medical grade soap (includes a sanitizer)
* 30 additional bulk hand sanitizers and set out strategically for use
* Vests/JBS Clean Team Shirts being worn by cleaning crew to provide visibility of efforts to disinfect
* Purchased Power Breezer Unit - overnight misting in common areas to disinfect (ex: locker rooms,restrooms)
* Bulk fill Stations for Sanitizer set-up in Storeroom & Health Services
* Employees can bring outside bottles to fill with Sanitizer at Haz Mat Building to bring home
* Providing 6-8 People for Dry Pick-Up at end of Night so that PSSI can deep clean the bathrooms and cafeteria every night
* Monitoring hand sanitizing at start of shifts & breaks
* Disinfecting USDA Office During Production
* 1 EE each shift strictly focused on filling Hand Sanitizer and Soap dispenser
* Boot Baths or Foamers at all entrances to Plant and most production floors
* Weekly locker cleaning and disinfecting on Sunday
* Maintenance spraying down controls on equipment throughout the day
* Main walkways throughout the plant sprayed with bleach during high traffic times
* Nightly deep clean of all high traffic areas
* Laundry detergent used is approved by CDC for destruction for COVID-19
* Door stops made to hold doors open - avoid touching handles as much as possible.
* Every employee, contractor, and visitors provided face mask and required to wear upon entering facility.
* Triage Center created in the HAZMAT building to pre-screen people who don't feel well.
* Staggering the breaks to reduce number of people in locker rooms, hallways, restrooms, etc.
* Tent outside to increase sitting areas for lunch, spread out people.
* Infrared Camera's in Use-all employees entering facility must go through scanner to check temperature
* Temperature is being taken at guard shack for everyone entering through the entrance gate-etc.Contractors, Truck Drivers, Visitors
* Union Employees greeting and asking employees as they enter if they are feeling sick and directing to Haz Mat Building
* Social distancing by using dividers between employees on the line
* New Hire Orientation is spread out between training rooms so EE's are 6 ft apart
* Large Group Meeting are cancelled/Postponed until further notice
* Safety Training & Line Meeting groups of 10 or less, must be 6' apart, training on longer that 20 minutes, south training room only
* Interviewing new hires in the HAZMAT Building, no longer in the Main Building.
* Plexi-glass put up in storeroom, Human Resources, Parts Cage, and Hogs Yard for Social Distancing.
* All water fountains have been turned off and water dispensed out at strategic locations.
* Touchless water faucets ordered and will be installed.o Additional lockers (100) added to help with employee spacing.
* Diverts in hallways to make sure proper flow of foot traffic
* 6-Foot pacing markers on ground throughout the facility, inside & out
* Plexi-glass put up at tables in break rooms for social distancing.
* Arranged seating at tables in break rooms for social distancing
* 2-Centralized Board / Location for Coronavirus update
* Post all updates on TV's across the Plant
* Upper Management meets daily to discuss plan updates
* Daily communication with USDA - communicate updates given out by industry & Agency
* Providing Sack lunches for employees to bring home to their kids
* Daily communication with Union - communicate any updates from work force to Management
* All Production areas re-cleaned by PSSI floor to ceiling.
* Ordered 80 touchless sanitizer dispensers to set out strategically for use.
* Installed Touchless Water Faucets (30).
* Touchless trash cans on both cafeterias.
* Have 60 Automatic Soap dispensers – ordered [will install ASAP].
* Cleaned locker rooms – inside and outside with bleach and alcohol.
* Deep cleaning in training rooms, Health Service, Human Resources.
* Re-arrange locker rooms for spacing, separating same shift and same departments [before Wednesday].
* Adding dividers that run length ways in every department to isolate employees – side to side.
* Measure and evaluate all lines for 6 ft distancing and barriers between employees – change several stands to ensure 6 ft distance.
* Adding time clocks [to punch in and out] to get the spacing better.
* Getting face shields to wear with masks on employees that cannot be 6 ft apart.
* Take out Ross Chiller to make more room for Loin Boning areas.
* Evaluating and rearranging fans and air flow on the Kill floor to ensure adequate ventilation.
* Clean all Air Make up units for the facility by PSSI.
* Chlorine dioxide treatment on May 5th for locker rooms and common areas.
* Printed all signs to put outside the plant and parking lot to provide visual cues as a reminder to workers to maintain social distancing.
* Considering UVC-treatment for air units – planned in 2 weeks.